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Bucs fans celebrate Super Bowl win outside Raymond James and across Tampa

Fans were thick outside the stadium before, during and after the game, while fans packed bars and restaurants in SoHo and Ybor City.
Published Feb. 8
Updated Feb. 8

Bucs fans celebrated outside Raymond James Stadium and across other parts of the city Sunday after the team won its second Super Bowl in franchise history with a dominating 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Fans were thick outside the stadium before, during and after the game, while fans packed bars and restaurants in SoHo and Ybor City.

The scene in SoHo got particularly raucous after the win, with police officers getting into the middle of a large crowd and appearing to get overwhelmed before they took a person into custody.

Traffic in the area was shut down and officers told the crowd to disperse, though it appeared more than 1,000 people were still out on the streets around 12:30 a.m.

Across the street from from Raymond James, in a lot on Woodlawn Avenue, a big screen with a patchy livestream showed the last seconds of the game tick down.

It didn’t matter when it cut out, people were already dancing in the grass and the speakers had turned to music, blasting “Let’s Go.” Across the street, the lights blinked, and fireworks shot red streaks into the sky. Car horns and the speakers blared, and some in the crowd began to move closer to the stadium. “We won the Super Bowl!” a man yelled.

Fans at a tailgate on Woodlawn screamed and did victory dances when the Bucs officially won. A man in a three cornered hat embraced a friend — or perhaps a stranger as a woman absorbed the win out loud. “I can’t believe we f-----g won!” she screamed.

At the corner of Woodlawn and Himes, fans stood on concrete barriers, waving flags and signs.”Brady! Brady! Brady!” they chanted. Then a call and response under the streetlights: “Tampa!“”Bay!”

Kaylyn Castro, 21, is a Tampa native and was among a group chanting “Tampa Bay” outside the stadium after the game. During the game, she and her friends were watching at a nearby house — when it ended, they shook up and poured beer on each other and ran to Raymond James to be with other ecstatic fans.

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“It doesn’t feel real,” said the St. Leo University student. “The Bucs won at home and made history.”

An impromptu dance party started at Himes and Heiter outside the stadium, with people carrying friends on their shoulders who in turn hoisted flags. At least one man smoked a cigar, while another sprayed the growing, grooving crowd with foamed-up beer.

In Ybor, fans erupted out of bars flooding 7th Avenue with cheers of “Tampa!” “Tampa!” Meanwhile, street preachers told fans about the dangers of drinking and sex.

Many of the fans outside the stadium, in SoHo and in Ybor did not wear masks and social distancing recommendations were disregarded by many others. A loudspeaker at the stadium reminded people of an order to wear masks at Super Bowl events, but most didn’t take heed.

The maskless celebrations came after Tampa received a lot of attention for packed streets in Ybor City on Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Outside the stadium, Katie Roman, 48, walked down the street from her house to see the celebration under the Raymond James lights. She wore a mask and draped a creamsicle Buc flag over her shoulders.

”We knew Brady was going to dominate,” Roman said, but the defense was special, too.

Katie Roman, 48, walked down the street from her house, to see the celebration under the Raymond James lights. She wore a mask and draped a creamsicle Buc flag over her shoulders.
Katie Roman, 48, walked down the street from her house, to see the celebration under the Raymond James lights. She wore a mask and draped a creamsicle Buc flag over her shoulders. [ Zachary T. Sampson ]

Her husband, a radiologist in Brandon, had flown to the last Bucs Super Bowl but was on call Sunday night, she said. They watched from home together.

A person in a giant panda suit walked by Roman. Up the street, a man had a snake looped around his neck. Roman stood outside of the thick crowd and lamented that so many people were maskless.

”It’s crazy people don’t” wear them, she said.

Thinking of the coronavirus caseload, she said: “It’s going to skyrocket in two weeks.”

Off to the side, she FaceTimed her boss and husband still back home.

”This is history in the making,” she said.

For Tampa, Roman thought, the championship was a joyous reprieve from a brutal year. The stadium had looked great on TV.

“We’ve struggled, we’ve come a long way.”

Fans celebrate theTampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Sunday.
Fans celebrate theTampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Sunday. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Eugene Hatten, 40, was selling Bucs “Super Bowl Champions” shirts outside the stadium after the victory. He said he drove down from New Jersey to experience his first Super Bowl and hawk merchandise. They had different shirts to sell in case of a loss, he said.

But “I felt pretty good they were going to win it,” he said with a grin.

Fans celebrate theTampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Sunday.
Fans celebrate theTampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Sunday. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

At one point, a bus marked as the Chiefs’ team bus appeared to get separated from its police escort and was surrounded by fans on Dale Mabry. Many of the fans gestured and chanted at the bus. A number of officers on motorcycles soon appeared to clear the roadway so the bus could keep going.

A bus that was marked as the Kansas City Chiefs team bus was surrounded by Bucs fans on Dale Mabry Highway after the game.
A bus that was marked as the Kansas City Chiefs team bus was surrounded by Bucs fans on Dale Mabry Highway after the game. [ Luis Santana ]

On a closed street, police stood in a line watching as people danced and screamed on the other side of a chain link fence outside RayJay. One man raised his arms over the crowd, gripping a football in one hand. In the other, he held a handle of Captain Morgan. It was not full.

Later, two police officers crossed the fence and wove through the crowd until they reached a man controlling the speakers. They briefly chatted, then fist bumped him. The man took the microphone and told people it was time to go.

Some of the crowd dissipated and the gatherings around the stadium were largely over by 12:30 a.m.

Fans celebrate theTampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Sunday.
Fans celebrate theTampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Sunday. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Crowds in Ybor and SoHo remained in the hundreds well after 1 a.m., however.

• • •

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