Why Joe And Jill Biden Were Booed At The Super Bowl

President Joe Biden delivered a pre-recorded message to the fans in attendance for Super Bowl LV that was met with a mixed reaction from the crowd. Prior to the game, CBS aired an interview where the president was asked about the crowd levels returning to normal. "God willing, we'll be able to celebrate as usual a year from now," Biden said, per the New York Post

According to USA Today, there were approximately 25,000 people in attendance to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. More than 7,500 of those fans were healthcare workers who had been vaccinated. At first glance, the stadium appeared full, but the empty seats were filled with cardboard cutouts.

Just before kickoff, President Biden appeared on the big screen along with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden. As covered by the Daily Mail, he thanked "the frontline healthcare heroes" who were in attendance and watching at home. Biden encouraged people to continue practicing safety protocols and ended his address on a somber note by asking everyone to join "in a moment of silence for the more than 440,000 Americans who lost their lives in this pandemic."

Several videos circulated online that seemed to capture a chorus of boos from the crowd during the requested moment of silence. Many people watching the game reacted to the negative crowd during the president's video address.

Joe Biden's moment of silence was not silent

Fans watching the Super Bowl at home could not help but hear that the moment of silence was anything but silent. A myriad of watchers took to Twitter to discuss the outcry of boos, with many finding the act to be disrespectful of not only the president, but of those who had died from COVID-19. "Was that a boo I hear from the crowd when Biden asked for us to have a moment of silence for +400K lost due to the Covid 19? ... That speaks volumes," one person wrote.

"That moment of silence lasted 0 seconds. #SuperBowl," a Twitter user noticed. "That was the loudest moment of silence ever #SuperBowl," another remarked. Several Biden detractors were delighted by the seemingly negative crowd reaction. "LMFAO @joebiden just got boo'd at #SuperBowl what a perfect moment for an absolute trash president," one viewer tweeted. As covered by the Washington Examiner, right-wing political analyst Benny Johnson thought the boos were proof that "[p]eople are tired of the health PSAs."

One fan watching the broadcast speculated that the simulated crowd noise in the stadium had not been turned down while the Bidens' video was played, and that was the noise people heard at home. 

COVID-19 experts feared that the Super Bowl would be a 'superspreader' event

Joe Biden also used his speech to remind everyone to wear masks and social distance. The crowd of 25,000 that possibly booed the Bidens may have been spaced out by cardboard cutouts and vaccinated healthcare professionals, but many still worried about the Super Bowl's effect on COVID-19 infection rates.

Health officials were concerned that the Super Bowl would become a "superspreader" event, according to AP News. The rate of new infections in the U.S. finally dropped in February 2021, after it hit a spike following the holidays, but people gathering to watch the game together might have endangered that result.

Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that she was "worried" about Super Bowl Sunday. "People gather, they watch games together. We've seen outbreaks already from football parties," she revealed. "So I really do think that we need to watch this and be careful."

In Tampa, where the game took place, Mayor Jane Castor announced that anyone not wearing a mask in crowded areas, inside or outside, could be fined $500. More than 150,000 masks were donated to the city so that officials could hand them out in preparation for the Super Bowl.

President Biden plans to use every NFL stadium as a vaccination site

According to ESPN, Joe Biden also confirmed at the Super Bowl that he will "absolutely" take up the NFL's offer to use football stadiums as vaccination sites. Commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly sent a letter to the president in the week before the Tampa showdown suggesting that all of the league's stadiums should be used to help speed up vaccine distribution.

Certain stadiums are already being used as vaccination sites: the Carolina Panthers' Bank of America Stadium, the Atlanta Falcons' Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the New England Patriots' Gillette Stadium, the Baltimore Ravens' M&T Bank Stadium, the Houston Texans' NRG Park, the Arizona Cardinals' State Farm Stadium, and the Miami Dolphins' Hard Rock Stadium. Goodell's letter to Biden offered every remaining stadium.

"I'm going to tell my team they're available, and I believe we'll use them," Biden told CBS in an interview during their pre-Super Bowl programming. He also refused to choose between the Chiefs and the Buccaneers, calling both Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady "great quarterbacks."

Biden also spent part of the night calling parties where U.S. troops were watching the Big Game. The president tweeted, "Every year service members around the world gather to watch the Super Bowl — and tonight, I called into watch parties in Kabul and on the USS Nimitz to thank them for their service. We are forever in debt to those who sacrifice so much to keep us safe."