The NFL plans to invite vaccinated healthcare workers to attend next year's Super Bowl in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic, league commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday.
In a letter to the head of the local organising committee for the Super Bowl in Tampa, Goodell said the NFL was keen to reward frontline health workers with tickets to the February 7 showpiece.
"We are currently discussing with public health officials our desire to invite vaccinated health care workers to the Super Bowl as our guests," Goodell wrote in the letter reported in several media outlets.
"Subject to their approval and in consultation with your team, we aim to do this in a safe and responsible way," Goodell added.
"We all know that over the past year, these frontline workers have put their own lives at risk to the benefit of society and we owe them our ongoing gratitude. We also know that they will remain essential for months to come to treat those who are ill and administer vaccines.
"We hope that in some small way, this initiative will inspire our country and recognise these true American heroes as we look forward to a better and healthier year."
Goodell said the league also hoped the initiative would be an opportunity to promote "the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings."
It was not immediately known how many healthcare workers the league hoped to invite as guests.
Next year's Super Bowl at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium is reportedly set to be staged with only 20% fan capacity -- around 13,000-15,000 spectators -- to mitigate against coronavirus.
Although the first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were administered this week, the United States is battling a raging coronavirus crisis with more than 307,000 deaths and cases skyrocketing across swathes of the country.