TAMPA, Fla. - Governor Ron DeSantis has been a proponent of getting fans in the stands and bringing sports to Flordia.
With roughly 48 hours before Super Bowl LV kicks off, DeSantis – a Pinellas County native – says it's an honor to have his state on the big stage.
"We love being able to host the Super Bowl. Florida is a great place to have it. We've done it in Tampa and Miami," DeSantis said, adding, "[When Tom Brady signed with the Bucs, we knew we had talent in Tampa Bay. Putting him at the helm, we had a chance to go [to the Super Bowl.]"
DeSantis acknowledged there were many who doubted the team would make such a rise in the first season with Brady behind the ball. But he was not shy about his predictions.
"They're clicking at the right time. If the Bucs can win, I’m predicting they will. I think it will be one of the best team sports achievements to win the Super Bowl in your home stadium with a 43-year-old quarterback," he said. "They've been in the wilderness for a while. They do have some talent but to get Tom Brady to come in and have Gronk and all these guys a lot of excitement going into the season."
The governor said the Bucs win it, 38-31.
Florida sports, especially Tampa Bay teams, had a great year. The Lightning won the Stanley Cup. The Rays went to the World Series. The Rowdies won the Eastern Conference. DeSantis pointed out many Florida college teams had standout seasons, as well.
"Great NFL season. We also had high school, state champion, near Florida State...Florida has been ground-zero for sports, we want to keep that way," DeSantis said.
The governor is so confident another Florida team will come out victorious, he placed a bet on it.
"I’m rooting for the Bucs. This is a partisan thing. I’m not even-handed. I said let’s do a friendly wager. If the Chiefs win, we'll send you Florida’s finest seafood offering. We have the stone crab claws and these wonderful grouper sandwiches from Frenchie’s," DeSantis described.
If Tampa takes the trophy, DeSantis will have some Kansas City BBQ coming his way.
"When you really have your feelings invested, there’s a lot of anticipation. This is a once-in-a-generation thing even. If we win another Super Bowl, the idea you’re hosting, so it’s a big deal. I’m really looking forward to it," DeSantis said.
According to DeSantis, the Super Bowl is one of the top-grossing economic impact events, alongside Wrestle Mania, which is being held in Tampa in April.