KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Houston Texans Thursday night to kick off an NFL season unlike any in history, a national television audience will tune in to see Patrick Mahomes and the reigning Super Bowl champions play football.
It’ll be a national stage not just for Chiefs players, but also the city and the team’s fans.
During a video conference Wednesday with reporters, Chiefs President Mark Donovan said television viewers will be paying particularly close attention to the fans, as the team is one of a select few teams to allow at least some fans at its home opener.
“There is an opportunity in front of us to show the world that we can do this successfully and that we can have events like this,” Donovan said.
Last month, the team announced a suite of safety protocols both inside Arrowhead Stadium and in the parking lots outside to keep everyone safe.
Donovan said the team’s plan is comprehensive and designed to keep players, fans, coaches, referees and workers safe, but also tries to do so in an environment that still has the energy it deserves.
During his discussion with reporters, Donovan said he and other team officials spoke with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday about the importance of Thursday’s game.
“America needs Kansas City to do this right so we can prove that we can do more of this,” Donovan recalled of the conversation, adding Goodell’s message included that the league and its fans also need the team and Chiefs Kingdom to do their part.
“We’re excited to see what it can be,” Donovan said.
The Chiefs will welcome nearly 17,000 fans Thursday night, a figure representing 22% of Arrowhead Stadium’s capacity.