As Eagles await Sunday opener, Kansas City starts NFL season with 22% fan capacity

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By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s been very difficult to predict most things in 2020, which included whether or not the NFL season would be able to begin on time. 

That will indeed happen Thursday night when Kansas City begins its title defense against Houston at Arrowhead Stadium. This is one of the few cities currently allowing some fans to attend games. They are keeping capacity at 22%, which is approximately in between 16,000 to 17,000 people. 

We’re gonna be on a national stage, and there are gonna be a lot of cameras watching Patrick (Mahomes) and Tyreek (Hill) and Travis (Kelce) and Frank (Clark) and everything they’re doing on the field,” Kansas City President Mark Donovan said Wednesday. "There are also gonna be some cameras that are pointed at our stands and wanna see our fans and wanna see if they are compliant.”

There are detailed COVID-19 protocols in place for fans in attendance, which will require them to practice social distancing and wear a mask at all times, except when eating or drinking. The team laid out its thorough guidelines on their web site

Donovan said that earlier this week, he was on a call that included some season ticket holders and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. 

“And we talked about the platform that we’re on, and we talked about the opportunity that is in front of us for Kansas City, for the Chiefs, for our city, for our fans to show the world that we can do this successfully.”

Last night, a select few Season Ticket Members had the opportunity to ask questions to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Chiefs Chairman & CEO Clark Hunt, President Mark Donovan, and legend Willie Lanier. pic.twitter.com/86qV0hxXTB

— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 9, 2020

Donovan said the commissioner had a clear message that, “The sport needs you do it right and, frankly, America needs us in Kansas City to do this right so we can prove we can do more of this.”

There were already some test runs at Kansas City training camp practices. 

The new normal at Arrowhead Stadium -- pic.twitter.com/ANTw5i9x4A

— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) August 22, 2020

Former Eagles coach Andy Reid is stoked that at least some people can be in attendance. 

“We need everybody hootin’ and hollerin’, man, the best they possibly can,” Reid said earlier this week. 

Speaking of the Eagles, they’re only three days from their opener at the Washington Football Team. On Thursday, Sunday and Monday, NFL teams will face someone other than themselves for the first time — and half the teams will be doing so in cities different from where they’ve been before — including the Eagles. 

Earlier this week, Pederson told Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro of PhiladelphiaEagles.com that families can’t travel, and they have to remain in their hotels leading up to Game Day. 

“A lot of on-the-road, too, is enjoying the city that we go to — going out to dinner, seeing family, seeing friends — and that this year is not gonna happen. And we got to make sure that we adhere to those protocols and keep ourself safe and ready to go for Sunday,” Pederson said. 

On Aug. 30, Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie was asked during his annual State of the Team Press Conference that he’s optimistic they’ll be able to play games because of the league’s protocols, but added, “I’m also really cognizant that the virus will control that. We will not control that.”

Lurie said they’re going to do everything they can to keep everyone safe. 

“It’s inevitable there’s gonna be ups and downs here, but I think we have significant roster size. We have positional flexibility. We know going in that there’s gonna be some unusual games where players might be playing positions they’ve hardly ever played, but that’s part of being a professional athlete.”

Major League Baseball has played through multiple schedule changes because of some coronavirus outbreaks. They, like the NFL, are having teams travel. 

The NBA and NHL have played in “bubbles,” and have had successful — and essentially flawless — COVID-19 protocol in those respective locations.