TAMPA, Fla. – Craig Cathers is decked out like a guy who's ready — totally fired up — for his team to play in the Super Bowl.
The 37-year-old native of Plattsburgh, New York, who recently moved to Minneapolis showed up at the NFL's Super Bowl Experience theme park in downtown Tampa wearing a white autographed No. 27 LeGarrette Blount jersey, a pirate ship hat and sunglasses with the team's logo on the lenses.
And, in a vivid reminder of the unusual times during a pandemic, a colorful face mask.
“When they played Green Bay in the NFC championship, I said, ‘If they beat Green Bay, we’re going to Tampa,’” Cathers said. “And here we are. We’re in Tampa.”
The scene around downtown is still bustling with people from the area and a smaller-than-usual flock of out-of-towners during the days leading to the big game. They’re just happy there’s a Super Bowl to celebrate even if the party isn’t as big as usual.
Cathers and his girlfriend Coreana Fairbanks were among a moderate crowd of football fans checking out the scene at the NFL's interactive theme park Friday. Everyone was required to wear face masks to get in — and the DJ would take a quick break from spinning tunes to shout out an occasional reminder to make sure everyone's mouths and noses were covered.
“Coming here, we talked about it and we said when are we ever going to do this again?" said the 33-year-old Fairbanks, a native of Minneapolis. "And we knew the safety precautions we’re taking and we felt safe doing all of this.”
Thomas Qualk, a 33-year-old resident of Bellmawr, New Jersey, is a Browns fan — as evidenced by his No. 92 Courtney Brown throwback jersey. He planned the trip in November, and wasn’t deterred by any potential health concerns.