Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate Super Bowl LV title with boat parade


TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held a boat parade Wednesday to celebrate their Super Bowl LV championship on a sun-splashed day with thousands of fans lining the Hillsborough River near downtown Tampa.

As the parade came to a close, head coach Bruce Arians said the Buccaneers could easily repeat as champions if the team stays intact.

“We have the best coaching staff in the NFL. And we damn sure have the best players in the NFL,” Arians said. “… We’re going for two. We’re going for two. And we ain’t stopping. We’re gonna keep this band together, and they know how to win.”

Defensive tackle Vita Vea dumped a cooler of ice water on Arians during the post-parade celebration.

At one point during the parade, quarterback Tom Brady was captured on video tossing the NFL’s Lombardi trophy from his boat across the water to another boat carrying Buccaneers players. His completion to shirtless tight end Cameron Brate brought wild cheers from fans and players.

“That was the best catch of my life,” Brate said. “Unbelievable. That was the best catch of my life. If I had dropped that? I think I would’ve had to retire.”

Brady also tweeted a reaction to a video of him struggling to walk after getting off his boat.

Arians vowed to keep linebacker Lavonte David and wide receiver Chris Godwin, who are both scheduled to be free agents. Linebacker Shaq Barrett, also scheduled to become a free agent, vowed to return as well.

“We coming back — back-to-back,” Barrett told ESPN. “That’s the plan. I’m coming back next year.”

For the Tampa Bay players and the team’s fans, celebrating their first Super Bowl win since 2003 was the main attraction on Wednesday.

“We just made history in all the world,” said linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul. “This means so much to me, I’ll do it again. We’re gonna do it again.”

Godwin said the team came together at the right time. After losing three of four to fall to 7-5, the Buccaneers reeled off eight straight wins to claim the championship.

Mayor Jane Castor had emphasized that people attending the parade needed to wear masks outdoors and observe social distancing rules.

It appeared many abided by the mask order but many others did not. There were also dozens of people on private boats, kayaks and other watercraft crowding the river to catch a glimpse of the team. They were directed to stay at least 50 feet from the boats carrying players.

After Tampa Bay’s 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday’s title game, throngs of people gathered in the city’s entertainment districts. Many were seen maskless despite the orders requiring them.

Brian Ford, chief operating officer of the Buccaneers, said in a video announcement that fans should heed the rules as they celebrate the team’s victory.

“It’s essential we do it the right way,” Ford said. “We want to do our part to ensure it’s done in a safe and responsible manner.”

Also Wednesday, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis lashed out at the news media when he suggested there is bias in coverage of the pandemic, particularly at the Super Bowl in Tampa.

DeSantis attended the Super Bowl and was photographed at times not wearing a mask despite a requirement to do so.

ESPN’s Jenna Laine and The Associated Press contributed to this report.





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