Thousands of anxious NFL fans were allowed back inside the Pittsburgh Steelers’s stadium for the first time since the pandemic hit, but the Patriots-Broncos game was sidelined after another positive COVID-19 test.
Pennsylvania’s decision to allow large outdoor gatherings of more than 7,500 people across the state signaled the return of roaring crowds and excited fans who haven’t visited Heinz Stadium in months.
In the Midwest, a staggering 16,000 fans were allowed to watch the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Las Vegas Raiders in a rivalry game in Week 5.
But, league officials announced that Monday’s game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots was postponed following another bout of the virus.
Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eaglers were given the official ‘okay’ to return to Heinz stadium on Sunday afternoon to watch the game match-up in person
The Kansas City Chiefs have allowed fans to return to Arrowhead Stadium since Week One and continuned to do so on Suday adternoon
Pictured: Football fans walk toward the Patriots ProShop at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Sunday before officials postponed the game due to COVID-19
One of the last times Pittsburg Steelers fans were allowed inside Heinz Stadium was in December 2019, when their team played the Buffalo Bills
In Pittsburgh, some 5,500 fans dressed in black and gold paraphernalia traveled through the North Shore neighborhood to reach Heinz Stadium.
It is the first time all season that fans were allowed back into the stands after the stadium and the National Football league temporarily shuttered in March.
Photos taken inside the stadium showed people wearing mandatory face masks and social distancing while cheering on their favorite team.
The reunion prompted fans to hoist handwritten signs into the air, reading ‘Dear Steelers, we missed yinz’ and ‘The Terrible Social Distance Barrier.’
The Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon allowed just 5,500 fans into Heinz Stadium, which can host an astonishing 68,400 in full capacity
A Pittsburgh Steelers fan holds a sign readinng, ‘Dear Steelers, We Missed Yinz,’ during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Pittsburgh, Sunday
Heinz Stadium employees donned face masks and held signs reiterating that social distancing would be strictly enforced throughout Sunday’s game
Stadium workers walked through the stands with signs reiterating that social distancing was strictly enforced.
According to guidelines from the Steelers, face masks and social distancing were required throughout the event, and all ticket holders within a group had to sit together.
No tailgating was allowed in any of the reopened parking lots before the game.
Although fans were thrilled to be back in the stands, they admitted the atmosphere didn’t feel like a normal Sunday game.
‘This is exceptionally weird,’ Scott Hiltne, a Steelers fan and ticket holder, told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Hiltner drove six hours with his family from Egg Harbor, New Jersey, to Pittsburgh for the in-person game. They were all shocked by how quiet it was when they approached the stadium before the gates opened.
‘There’s literally nothing. This is like coming down the Saturday before a game to get your pictures and stuff,’ Hiltner told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Pictured: Members of the Philadelphia Eagles take a knee for the National Anthem before an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steeler
Steelers fans sit without face masks during the first half of an NFL football game between the Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagle on Sunday
Sunday’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles was the first time fans were allowed back into Heinz stadium since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March
Scalpers were also let down by the smaller turnout when compared to usual crowds, which at full capacity inside the stadium is 68,400.
Eric and Tina Barks told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that they only sold about six water bottles by noon.
‘I tried telling him it’d be a waste of time,’ Tina said, referring to her husband. ‘But hubby doesn’t like to listen to wifey. I’m not coming down until they get more fans than this.’
But Pittsburgh fans walked out of Heinz stadium in a buzz after the Steelers beat the Eagles 38-29.
Scott Hiltne to the Pittsbugh Post-Gazette: ‘There’s literally nothing. This is like coming down the Saturday before a game to get your pictures and stuff’
In Kansas City, Missouri, hundreds of vehicles were pictured outside of Arrowhead Stadium ahead of the Chiefs’ rivalry battle against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Tailgating outside of Arrowhead Stadium saw a plethora of pop-up tents, coolers placed on pickup trucks’ tailgates and friends playing games like Cornhole.
Officials placed orange cones inside certain parking spaces to create space among the droves of fans.
Scores of vehicles were parked in a Arrowhead Stadium parking lot on Suday afternoon when some 16,000 fans were allowed to attend the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders
Officials placed orange cones in certain parking spaces to enforce social distancing between tailgate groups who attended the football game onn Sunday
Fans told KSHB that they’re simply happy they can enjoy the football season amid this uncertain, odd time.
They added that they liked the social distanced tailgating, saying it cleared up some extra space for people to move around.
Although scores of people had tailgated outside of Arrowhead Stadium, the number looked dwarfed once inside.
Arrowhead stadium holds an estimated 76,416 seats, and on Sunday about 60,400 of those remained empty.
Unlike the Steelers, the Chiefs were among the first to welcome back fans inside the stadium and have done so since Week 1.
But fans were only allowed inside at a reduced capacity, in accordance with state health guidelines.
Pictured: Fans sit socially distanced at Arrowhead Stadium before an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday
Arrowhead stadium holds an estimated 76,416 seats and on Sudnay about 60,400 of those remained empty after Kansas City Chief staff determined to hold in-person games at reduced capacity
Fans wearing face masks arrive at Arrowhead Stadium before an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday
Additional cleaning measures were implemented and fans were seated in separate pods that allowed for proper social distancing. Face masks were required throughout the game.
But earlier this year, a Chiefs fan who attended the season opener tested positive for COVID-19, forcing every person who sat near them to quarantine.
Despite the scare, no players from Kansas City or their opponents that week, the Houston Texans, contracted the virus.
The Raiders walked away with a clear victory over Kansas City on Sunday, winning 40-24 after the Chiefs didn’t score a touchdown the last two quarters.
Las Vegas Raiders fans tailgate in the parking lot without masks before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs – breaking the face mask mandate
The Kansas City Chiefs have all fans to attend games inside Arrowhead Stadium since Week One, when one fan tested positive for COVID-19 and forced others to quarantine
Monday’s game between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos was postponed after a Patriot’s player tested positive for COVID-19
The NFL announced that Monday’s game between the Patriots and the Denver Broncos was postponed after a New England player tested positive.
‘This decision was made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game personnel and in consultation with medical experts,’ a statement read.
Only a handful of fans were spotted outside of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, as news of the delay hit social media.
According to Adam Schefter with ESPN, the Patriots shut down their facility for the third time in just 10 days. He reports that the game has been moved to next Sunday.
The NFL rescheduled New England´s game for a second straight week after reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore tested positive.
This latest positive result puts their outbreak at four, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither team announced the latest results.
Pictured: Aleah DeHay, 12, of Weymouth, sits near a New England Patriots football team logo, at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Foxborough, Massachusetts
The National Football League released a statement on Sunday that announced the postponement of the Patriots-Broncos game
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Patriots-Broncos game has been moved to next Sunday
Broncos coach Vic Fangio, in a memorable take on the outbreaks in the league, noted on a Zoom call that what is occurring with the Titans and Patriots could happen to anyone.
‘But my message to them and to anybody is we were inconvenienced by this,’ he said, ‘but it very easily could have been flipped around to where we had the positive tests and the Patriots were inconvenienced by it. So, I´m happy that the positive tests weren´t in our building.
‘But I´m under no illusion that at some point we might have a positive test or two and be the cause of a game getting moved down the road. So, we´re all in this together, the entire league is.
‘And in a weird way, I´m kind of happy to see some of this stuff happen because you see who the whiners are … and who can´t handle adversity. And I´m going to try hard that the Denver Broncos don´t fall into any of those categories.
A passer-by walks past a New England Patriots football team logo near the Patriots ProShop at Gillette Stadium after Monday’s game against the Denver Broncos was postponed
The Titans last played September 27 because of an outbreak that has now reached 24. They´ve already had a game with Pittsburgh first postponed, then rescheduled to October 25. They sent out a statement saying they learned a staff member tested positive.
‘We have temporarily closed our facility and are in communication with the league on the next steps,’ the Titans said.
The Bears also had an issue, moving offensive lineman Badara Traore from their practice squad to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday.
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill addressed the uncertainty of the situation on Saturday.
‘It was a roller coaster for sure,’ he said. ‘Definitely the fact that we had guys with no symptoms testing positive and we had guys with full-blown symptoms getting consecutive negative tests on multiple days was really eye opening. Just the fact of we really don´t know.
‘So, we have to treat everyone as if they have the virus. Unfortunately, really probably lost some faith in the testing system just through everything we´ve been through over the past week and a half. But we said that from the beginning that testing is not going to prevent the virus from being spread, it´s the way we handle ourselves with all the protocols and handle ourselves outside the building as well.’