One perk that comes with winning the championship is having a parade to celebrate. That likely won’t happen this year due to COVID-19. But a potential Super Bowl parade in February — that didn’t end up happening — might’ve caused a catastrophic coronavirus outbreak before it was an issue in the U.S. That’s why it might be a good thing that the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.
The 49ers’ loss in Super Bowl LIV
The 49ers played the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, with bought teams looking to end a long drought without a Super Bowl title. For the 49ers, the lack of a title has lasted about a quarter-century, while it had been 50 years since the Chiefs last won the championship.
It was tied at 10 at halftime. The 49ers took a 10-point lead by the end of the third quarter. But 21 unanswered points for the Chiefs in the fourth quarter was the difference. Kansas City ended up winning the game, 31-20.
A potentially devastating parade?
COVID-19 has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths around the world. But it may have involved even more if the 49ers beat the Chiefs in February. Sports Illustrated reports that, due to the number of attendees at the parade being in the six digits, it would’ve led to a larger spread of the coronavirus in the Bay Area. Health officials in the U.S. didn’t know the extent of COVID-19 until March, which was after the parade would’ve occurred.
Live Science reported earlier this year that a coroner found evidence of a coronavirus death in the Bay Area dating back to early February, around the time the parade would have taken place. If the virus was present that early, it’s possible that there could’ve been a number of attendees with COVID-19 and unaware of it.
So 49ers fans were unhappy at the time that the team lost to the Chiefs, but it may have been a blessing in disguise in hindsight, as it may have saved a number of lives from early coronavirus cases.
COVID-19’s effect on sports
COVID-19 has hugely affected the sports world. This included the cancellation of March Madness, which came after all of the major U.S. pro sports leagues suspended their seasons for several months. Other sporting events were canceled, and several events that are closely associated with certain dates were moved to different parts of the year.
The Kentucky Derby moved from early May to September; the Indianapolis 500 forced to miss its usual Memorial Day weekend schedule. The race took place in August instead.
Major League Baseball is playing a severely truncated season due to the virus. Teams are playing 60 games instead of the usual 162-game campaign. The NFL also canceled its entire preseason and held a virtual draft in April instead of an extravaganza in front of a large crowd of football fans. And most sporting events have taken place in front of no or limited crowds.