See Amanda Gorman light up Super Bowl with poem honoring pandemic heroes


Amanda Gorman read a new poem before the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

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Football and poetry might not seem a likely match, but former US youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman — who rocked President Joe Biden’s inauguration last month with an inspiring reading — showed how simpatico the two can be with a stunning reading of a new poem before the kickoff of Super Bowl LV on Sunday.

In a video, Gorman delivered an ode to hard-working Americans who have persevered through the pandemic. She told the stories of James Martin (a warrior who “still shares his home with at-risk”), Trimaine Davis (an educator) and Suzie Dorner (an ICU nurse manager). 

“They’ve taken the lead, exceeding all expectations and limitations, uplifting their communities and neighbors as leaders, healers and educators,” Gorman said. 

The video included footage of the three community heroes in action. The trio was named as honorary coin toss captains for the game and Dorner performed the actual coin flip.

The NFL also tweeted out a written version of the poem, titled Chorus of the Captains. 

Social media, which instantly registers approval or disapproval of Super Bowl happenings, was in awe of Gorman’s reading.

Sports reporters Chelsea Janes tweeted, “Still marveling at the fact that Amanda Gorman made poetry so cool that of all the stars in the American cultural universe, the NFL chose her words to play just before the coin toss of the Super Bowl. Incredible talent.”

“I think it’s very cool they are playing a football game to celebrate the Amanda Gorman poetry reading,” tweeted Leslie Grossman.  

Gorman has a way of capturing a moment in history, and she did it again before the big game. She said of the community heroes, “For while we honor them today, it is they who every day honor us.”

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