NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — From the number of fans in the stands to the halftime show, it was a very different Super Bowl this year.

But the NFL and big brands still managed to deliver and give fans something to talk about, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported Sunday.

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The Super Bowl is known for big plays and big production. Despite the pandemic challenges, this year was no exception.

Due to COVID-19, the 55th big game was the lowest-attended Super Bowl ever, with an estimated 25,000 fans, each required to wear masks, alongside 30,000 cutouts at Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa, Florida.

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This year the heroes weren’t only on the field — 7,500 vaccinated health care workers were given free tickets to the game. They were honored before kickoff, in part through beautiful verse by presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman.

“For while we honor them today, it is they, who every day honor us,” Gorman said.

Viewers at home had the best seat in the house.


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The NFL went all out with its most elaborate production ever.

In all, 120 cameras on the ground and in the air were used to catch every play and the spectacle at half time up close.

The Weeknd performed with a socially distanced choir in the stands, masked dancers in a hallway of lights and mirrors, capped off with an army of clones taking the field to his hit song “Blinding Lights.”

It was an historic game for so many reasons, including a huge step for woman, with Sarah Thomas becoming the first female to officiate a Super Bowl.

Many huge names like Coke, Pepsi and Budweiser sat out in the ad battle, but commercials are still making the highlight reel favorites, including “Seinfeld” actor Jason Alexander in a spot for Tide.

A family favorite featured Sesame Street and actor/rapper Daveed Diggs for Doordash, and a poignant two-minute Jeep ad with “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen, encouraging a divided nation to come together.

“We just have to remember the very soil we stand on … is common ground,” Springsteen says.

In the end, whether you were rooting for the champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Kansas City Chiefs, this first-of-its-kind Super Bowl will certainly be remembered.

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