NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday revealed the league was weighing a proposal to host vaccinated healthcare workers at the Super Bowl, where they would be honored for their heroic efforts throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Goodell, in a letter addressed to the Super Bowl host committee in Tampa, said the league would also like to use the occasion of honoring the workers to promote coronavirus vaccines, as well as other safety measures.
In the letter, Goodell calls the idea "exciting," adding that the workers are owed a debt of gratitude for having risked themselves.
The first round of vaccines were rolled out in the US on Monday, the bulk of them going to nurses and other healthcare workers.
Shortages in personal protective equipment for the workers were commonplace in the early weeks of the virus, putting additional strain on already overburdened hospitals.
Hundreds of the brave workers have been felled by the virus after working on the front lines, though only a fraction of the shocking 300,000-plus who have perished in the US since the start of the virus through mid-December.
The Guardian, working in conjunction with Kaiser Health News, this week reported the estimated death toll for healthcare workers was around 1,500, disproportionately people of color, though it said that number was expected to climb significantly in the coming weeks as new data becomes available from the surge in virus cases affecting the US in the fall.
The nurses union National Nurses United in September said the number was closer to 1,700.
At least a couple football players turned medical professionals stepped up in the fight against the virus, most notably Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a fourth-year medical student who became the first player to opt out of the 2020 season.
As well, former Florida State standout and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle temporarily set aside his neurosurgery residency to help out on the front lines.