Poet Amanda Gorman, who wowed the nation on Inauguration Day with her original poem “The Hill We Climb,” will recite another of her compositions at the Super Bowl early next month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Wednesday.
Gorman ― who, at 22, became the country’s youngest inaugural poet laureate ― will perform a poem honoring the three people tapped by the league to serve as honorary captains for the Super Bowl this year, Goodell said.
The trio consists of nurse Suzie Dorner, educator Trimaine Davis and Marine Corps veteran James Martin. Goodell said the three captains embody the NFL’s message for its 2020 season, “It Takes All of Us.”
Gorman, who in 2017 was named the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate, will recite her new poem before kickoff at the Feb. 7 Super Bowl. The Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be facing off at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
Around 22,000 fans, including about 7,500 health care workers, are expected to attend the game in-person ― a fraction of the usual Super Bowl crowd due to restrictions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. An additional 100 million people are anticipated to watch the showdown from home.
Gorman’s popularity has skyrocketed since her poignant inauguration performance last week. She’s appeared on talk shows and drawn praise from luminaries like Oprah Winfrey and Lin-Manuel Miranda. She’s also signed a modeling contract with IMG Models, a renowned agency that’s represented supermodels such as Gisele Bundchen, Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid.
TV viewership of the NFL’s regular-season games suffered a drop in 2020, during which several contests had to be rescheduled to odd days and hours due to the pandemic. The league also grappled with intensified public scrutiny over its initially tepid response to efforts by some players to call attention to racial inequality and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Goodell said last summer that he wished “we had listened earlier” to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who was essentially booted from the league after he began taking a knee before games in 2016 to protest racism and police brutality.
“I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to,” Goodell said.
The commissioner’s remarks followed a promise made by the NFL to invest $250 million over a 10-year period to fight racism.