|Venue: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay Date: Sunday, 7 February Start: 23:30 GMT|
|Preview: Watch the NFL Show on Saturday night on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online.|
|Live coverage: Watch on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online from 23:00 GMT; Listen on Radio 5 Live; Follow live text and in-play clips on the BBC Sport website and app.|
It’s been a season like no other in the NFL, yet it will have a familiar ending – with Tom Brady playing in the Super Bowl.
The evergreen quarterback has already won a record six Super Bowls but in his first season away from the New England Patriots, he has reached the NFL showpiece for the 10th time in his 21-year career.
For the first time in NFL history, the quarterbacks who won the last two Super Bowls will meet in the latest edition as Brady faces Patrick Mahomes, who led the Kansas City Chiefs to victory last year.
What’s more, Brady has helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers become the first team to host a Super Bowl in their own stadium.
So while coronavirus restrictions mean Super Bowl 55 will see the big game’s lowest crowd and lack the usual razzmatazz, the anticipation is still building in Tampa.
What’s different with this year’s Super Bowl?
Super Bowl week normally begins with airport photo opportunities as the teams arrive in the host city, followed by Opening Night – a media extravaganza where reporters from around the globe speak with players and coaches in a packed arena.
Previously, Brady has had to field a marriage proposal from an interviewer wearing a wedding dress and taken questions from someone wearing a Brady mask, but this year the interviews were conducted via video conferences.
“How come I don’t get to see them at all, how come I just get to see me?” said Brady. “It’s a crazy media day. I’m sitting here in an empty room.”
There would usually be concerts and week-long parties for fans, but this year the official festivities have been limited to the Super Bowl Experience – an interactive football theme park which was fully booked before Super Bowl week.
Both teams have been able to prepare at home, with the Bucs enjoying the luxury of avoiding any long-distance travel. The Chiefs, who trained indoors on Thursday due to snow in Missouri, will arrive on Saturday and fly out straight after the game.
How many fans will be at the Super Bowl?
All NFL stadiums have been empty or operating at reduced capacity this season and since October, a limited number of fans have been allowed at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, which holds 65,890.
On Sunday it will feature 30,000 cut-outs and 25,000 fans, including 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers who have received free tickets.
Tampa Bay players will be familiar with the turf and facility but in a bid to neutralise the site, all Buccaneers signage has been covered by Super Bowl livery.
The stadium also boasts a pirate ship at one end zone, with cannons that traditionally fire every time the Bucs score, but the only time they’re allowed to fire on Sunday is when the Bucs are introduced before the game.
‘After the year we’ve had, people are glad to have something to celebrate’
Blaire Toedte, BBC World Service Sport, in Tampa
This year’s Super Bowl is a much quieter, scaled-back affair, and is lacking the glitz and glamour that has become expected from the United States’ biggest sporting event, an occasion that is on a par with Thanksgiving and Christmas.
While some have only had to travel a few blocks from their homes in Tampa, others have made the trip from Kansas City, and there’s a decent showing of Chiefs fans.
Despite the pandemic, there’s still a lot of excitement here and plenty of fans to be seen along Tampa Riverwalk, with locals screaming “Go Bucs”. People are asking to talk to me as opposed to me asking to interview them.
Many fans say they are thankful to be able to see this event come to fruition. For many, this is a light amid a difficult year.
Who is performing the half-time show?
This year the coveted half-time show will be performed by Canadian singer The Weeknd, whose biggest hit was Blinding Lights in 2019.
About 104m watched Shakira and Jennifer Lopez perform last year’s half-time show, but this year there won’t be thousands of staffers pouring onto the field to assemble the stage, followed by hundreds of invited fans.
The Weeknd may set foot on the field during his show, but otherwise it will all take place on a stage constructed in the stands.
There will still be 1.42bn chicken wings eaten in the US on Sunday, predicts the National Chicken Council, with a 30-second television advertisement reportedly costing $5.5m (£4m).
What health and safety measures will there be?
The NFL is providing all spectators with PPE kits on arrival at the stadium, and mask-wearing will be mandatory for fans, players and team staff.
Bars and restaurants are open in Tampa but Florida state guidelines advise citizens to wear face coverings in public and maintain a six-foot distance, while fans have been asked to keep gatherings small.
Two Chiefs players were placed on the reserve/Covid list last Sunday after the team arranged hair appointments for players and staff and the barber received a positive test result – mid-cut.
Centre Daniel Kilgore insisted he finished the cut, but he and wide receiver Demarcus Robinson must test negative for five straight days before rejoining team activities.
The Super Bowl’s first female official
Sarah Thomas will become the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl, six years after becoming the NFL’s first full-time female official.
The 47-year-old from Mississippi will be the down judge in Tampa, while the Bucs will have two female coaches – assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar.
Earlier this season, Thomas featured in the first NFL game with female coaches on opposing sidelines and a female official.