NFL opening day 2020: What to anticipate on and off the sphere

The season kicks off at 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday and can function the reigning Tremendous Bowl champions the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs and the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Discipline in Kansas Metropolis, Missouri.

The primary distinction would be the stands. {Many professional} sports activities groups which have returned through the Covid-19 pandemic, have opted for no followers or spectators of any variety, however that won’t be true for the NFL opener.

The Chiefs introduced that it will enable a restricted variety of followers to benefit from the first recreation of the season with strict Covid-19 protocols. The stands will solely maintain 22% of the stadium’s 76,000 seats, which can produce a lot much less crowd noise and a ghost city look to the often packed stands.

Sidelines will probably be much less crowded

The sidelines will look completely different as properly. There will probably be no cheerleaders, mascots, or sideline reporters allowed on the sphere, in accordance with league officers. Reporters must use the stadium concourse for his or her items.

Some gamers will probably be lacking

You might discover there’s a participant or two lacking that you’d usually see in your favourite staff. Greater than 60 gamers have opted out of enjoying at the moment to maintain themselves and their households protected from the virus.

This contains practising physician and Kansas Metropolis Chiefs offensive linesman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.

“Being on the frontline throughout this offseason has given me a special perspective on this pandemic and the stress it places on people and our healthcare system,” Tardif stated in a Twitter submit.

“I can’t enable myself to doubtlessly transmit the virus in our communities merely to play the game that I really like. If I’m to take dangers, I’ll do it caring for sufferers.”

Social justice will probably be highlighted

On the sphere there may even be a nod to social justice. Commissioner Roger Goodell introduced on September 1, that the league has deliberate a collection of social justice initiatives, together with helmet decals, a voter activation push and phrases stenciled ultimately zones.

The phrases will embrace “It Takes All of Us” and “Finish Racism” and will probably be in every finish zone of every recreation all season lengthy.

The NFL may even play the track “Carry Each Voice and Sing” — a track often called the Black nationwide anthem — earlier than video games on opening weekend, whereas airing footage that showcases the social justice work of gamers and groups, Goodell stated.

Put up recreation interplay will probably be nonexistent

Put up recreation will probably be 100% social distanced, so gamers and coaches won’t be exchanging a hug or a handshake after competitors, and gamers will not be allowed to swap jerseys. Nonetheless, the league did make clear that the gamers may accomplish that by the mail, simply not on the sphere.

CNN’s Allen Kim, David Shut, Amir Vera, Calum Trenaman, Jill Martin and Aleks Klosok contributed to this report.

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