NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NFL returns Thursday night, but some things will be a lot different than in the past.
The league has said all along it would start on time in spite of COVID-19, and it was true to its word.READ MORE: Yonkers Public Schools Honors Memory Of 10 'Angels' Who Tragically Died Over The Last 3 Years
But as CBS2’s Otis Livingston reports, because of the pandemic, things like the size of the crowd will look drastically different.
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The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans on Thursday in front of about 16,000 carefully placed spectators in Arrowhead Stadium.
“I am sure that the precautions they’re putting in place are totally legit,” Chiefs fan Marianne McKenzie said.
Those precautions include fans wearing masks when not eating or drinking, staying inside assigned stadium zones, and only tailgating with people they are sitting near.
For players, coaches and some staff, they can expect coronavirus testing six days a week. In-person meetings are limited to 15 people, and coaches will be masked on the sidelines during games.
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The stadiums will pump in artificial cheers and jeers, but it obviously won’t be the same. Football is all about verbal signal calling, so quarterbacks have to be careful not to give anything away since the defenders will be able to hear a lot more than usual.
“No one is really sure how the game, in terms of communicating and how loud it’s going to be, no one really knows how that’s going to go,” said New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. “So we just got everything prepared and we are going to handle whatever crowd noise or whatnot they throw at us.”
A lot has also changed in the past year for Giants second-year quarterback Daniel Jones.
He entered last season as the back-up to Giants legend Eli Manning. This year, he is a captain and the clear-cut leader on the offense. Any extra butterflies now that he is the guy?
“I don’t think so. I mean, I think I feel prepared, I think our team feels prepared,” said Jones. “I’m certainly excited and looking forward to it. There’s a level of anticipation and waiting for that game to come.”
The NFL and the Players Association also worked together on new social justice initiatives, including working on turning NFL stadiums into polling places on Election Day.MORE NEWS: Long Island's Oldest Running Family Farm Sold To Suffolk County As Part Of Farmland Preservation Program
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