BOSTON - The New England Patriots will not be adding another Lombardi Trophy decal to the team plane this year, but the team seems to have found a substitute.
The plane transporting 76 vaccinated healthcare workers to Tampa for Super Bowl LV took off Sunday sporting a new "get vaccinated" decal.
"When it's your turn, take the shot," the decal reads.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he hopes the gesture encourages the public to roll up a sleeve and get a vaccine.
"It's an honor for us to celebrate these healthcare workers by giving them a well-deserved break for a day and an opportunity to enjoy the Super Bowl, a reality that is only made possible because of the vaccines," Kraft said.
The NFL invited vaccinated healthcare workers from coast to coast to this year’s Super Bowl as a way of showing gratitude for all of their work during the pandemic.
It’s even designated every team’s stadium as a vaccination site in an attempt to speed up the rollout.
Kraft said he considers healthcare workers "superheroes," but he has a claim to the title of "hero" in his own right.
The Patriots have a simple message displayed on the side of their team plane: Get vaccinated. (Source: New England Patriots)
When the pandemic began, personal protective equipment quickly fell into short supply. Despite a spike in prices, high demand for masks cleared them from store shelves.
Even so, Kraft made headlines last spring when he sent the Patriots plane to China to pick up more than 1 million N95 masks to distribute for free.
"Last April, when our plane returned with masks from China, we never could have imagined the devastation this pandemic would cause, nor could we have dreamed of the heroic stories and achievements that have come to be as a result," Kraft said, "especially the dedication of healthcare workers on the front lines and the creation of safe and effective vaccines."
This story was reported from Atlanta.