Football is back! But what about COVID-19?


Photo by Crystal Zaharatos

Kyle Zaharatos enjoying the first football game.

So, as many football fans may know, professional football is back! Many of us may be excited about the NFL making its big comeback, but how are they handling COVID-19? As I sat down with my father to watch football, I began to realize that many things are now different.  

The first game occurred Thursday night where the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Houston Texans 34-20. Many Texans fans were hopeful as David Johnson caught the pass from Deshaun Watson to get the first touchdown of the season. The Chiefs were resilient and won the game in the end.

This game brought joy to many families. Kyle Zaharatos, who has been watching football since he was a young child states, “It has been great to watch football all together as a family again. 

With many months with no football and being unsure that it was even coming back, fans were cheering the teams on. While I was watching the game, I realized something odd. I saw fans in the stands! Unlike many other sports such as baseball and hockey where the stands have been empty due to COVID-19, the Chiefs felt it was safe to allow fans to join them in the stands.

They have the fans separate so none of them are sitting with each other unless they came together as a group. They also had the first few rows blocked off so that the fans could not come in contact with the players. One of the many changes is that, the players are now wearing SafeZone tag wristbands. These wristbands allow for the NFL to know where each player was and who they were with.

If anyone comes down with COVID-19, they will be able to contact whoever was near that player to get tested. These wristbands make it safer and organized so that they can ensure the safety of the players. 

The NFL is taking every precaution to begin the season safely during COVID-19. According to the NFL, “Of the 44,510 tests administered to a total of 8,349 players and team personnel, one player was confirmed to test positive for COVID-19. Seven confirmed positives emerged from testing of non-player personnel, bringing the combined total to eight for the period of time.” 

Like so many others, our family is excited to have football back and I am sure the players are as well.