TAMPA (WFLA) – Larry Gasparino from Port Richey is about to check off the biggest item on his bucket list.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers superfan secured two Super Bowl LV tickets for him and his wife on the Friday before the Big Game.
“We’re sitting near the pirate ship,” he told 8 On Your Side, “so hopefully – I’m not gonna say hopefully – when we do win they said they would fire the cannons.”
With the nickname “Thee Buccaholic,” Gasparino proudly wears his 2020 Buccaneers “Fan of the Year” jersey and sweatpants.
“This whole episode has been a dream for me,” he said by the NFL Super Bowl Experience on the Tampa Riverwalk. “All my life been wanting to go to a Buccaneers Super Bowl and to have it in our own stadium, in our own city, my team.”
Typically, Super Bowl crowds are well above 70,000 people, but Raymond James Stadium won’t be at capacity as the NFL nears the finish line in a season unlike any other during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The 25 thousand of us that are gonna be there are gonna be as loud as can be,” Gasparino said.
Bucs and Kansas City Chiefs fans will be seated among cardboard cutouts for social distancing.
The NFL is taking steps to promote COVID-19 safety, including mandatory mask wearing when not eating or drinking, cashless concession stands and digital tickets only.
In the concourse, there are markers on the ground designed to help with traffic flow and physical distancing, too.
Gasparino told 8 On Your Side he worried whether he’d get this once in a lifetime opportunity.
“We have season tickets,” he said. “I was only able to go to three games.”
Before his father passed away 11 years ago, they went to every Bucs home game together.
“I love my dad,” he said. “We were best friends.”
It’s a safe bet he’ll be thinking about his dad while watching their favorite team on football’s biggest stage.
“First thing I do is look up and I said, ‘dad, you’re looking down,’ I wish you were here,” Gasparino said, “cause he loved it. He was like a little kid when I took him to games.”
Gasparino also gets his own cardboard cut out in another section of the stadium because he is Tampa Bay’s inaugural fan of the year.
He plans to take it home with him to add to his memorabilia collection.