Tampa Bay! You’re drunk, go home!
We won the Super Bowl, but now it’s time to stop the Super Spread.
Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans celebrate the team's Super Bowl 55 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, February 7, 2021.
Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans celebrate the team's Super Bowl 55 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, February 7, 2021. [ LUIS SANTANA | TIMES | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Feb. 8
Updated Feb. 9

Seriously! Get out of the streets, everyone!

We are Champa Bay. Do we like this phrase, or is it weird? Anyway, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in Tampa. Tom Brady was incredible. Gronk Gronked like the Gronk old days. It is unbelievable that this happened at all, and we are experiencing a sensory overload, like when you win $500 on a scratch-off someone bought you as a joke, but times a trillion.

Celebrate, we will! But celebrate at home, or at most, a sparsely populated patio. Today is a new day, and you have a chance to stay away.

Do not pack into any more bars. Do not fight in the street. Do not get arrested in SoHo. Do not breathe on your fellow man, spray droplets like a firehose, lick anyone, get close to anyone’s ear and inhale. Do not sweat on a stranger. Do not sweat on a friend! Do not scream on people! Do not part your lips and thrust air through your vocal folds upon another!

Florida is a lawless land when it comes to the pandemic. It’s Lord of the Flies out here, and we know that didn’t end well. You need a refresher? It ends with the island on fire, the loss of innocence and excessive sobbing.

It figures Tampa Bay sports would drink a Red Bull in a year when we’re trying not to, you know, die. Good for Tampa Bay sports! Bad for state leadership. Mom has left the kids with the car keys, and the burden has shifted to the people.

That’s not fair, but it’s where we are. And it’s not like the people are powerless. It’s not like when we win at sports, someone comes to the door with a spiked baseball bat, insisting fans go mosh or else be bludgeoned. Where is that guy from college econ who talked so much about personal responsibility? Has he been bludgeoned?

Damnit, this is like telling a toddler over and over again not to eat sand.

Does it even matter, anymore, the reasons people should wear masks and avoid gathering by the thousands? This is the part when you glaze over, right? The 27,000 dead Floridians, the new variants, the hospitalizations, the long haulers, the workers without a choice, the nuance of vaccination. You don’t care, do you? You just want to parrrrrttayyyyyy.

There’s a parade coming up this week, and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said the city is planning “feverishly.” Before the game, she ordered people to wear masks, and thankfully, a lot of them did. The city handed out 200,000 masks. Police roamed the streets. Still, the people raged, mugged for the camera without a care, like a grotesque painting of the fall of Rome.

What other tools are available? Maybe the only thing left to do is... make the difficult decision to not have a party?

Nah. No one likes a buzzkill.

Related: Read more columns from Stephanie Hayes

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