Football fans, businesses react to Iron Bowl 2020 amid COVID-19 pandemic

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TUSCALOOSA Ala.(WIAT) — On Saturday, football fans around the country tuned in to see one of the biggest football games of the year as the University of Alabama faced Auburn in the 2020 Iron Bowl.

This year’s game was met with some unique challenges, due to COVID-19 but still, the game was able to be played.

“It’s the history, it’s the in-state rivalry, it’s the excitement and it’s electric in the air,” Jim Diggle, a fan, said.

Football fans came out in droves to experience the Iron Bowl Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

“It’s a big game that everybody wants to watch,” Daniel Harkey, another fan, said.

“I just wanted to be around to see the festivities and the vibe,” Anthony Blevins, a fan, said.

University of Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week, bringing major concern to if the game would be played by many fans and businesses.

“I was wondering if the game was going to happen and if other players were going to test positive,” Harkey said.

“Every day I wake up hoping not to hear the news that our game that particular week is canceled, we need every home game available to us,” Robert Mayer, a clothing vendor, said.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a major hit to Tuscaloosa merchants including longtime businesses Rama Jama and a nearby clothing vendor. But they say seeing all the fans come and support them gave them a sense of what a normal football season typically looks like.

“It’s been a better day than the previous four home games, so we are happy to have good weather, no rain, good temperature and sales have been good,” Mayer said.

“Thank you, thank you for the Auburn game the tradition carries on even with the numbers of fans and from our business standpoint we’ve done well today,” Gary Lewis, founder of Rama Jama, said.

Now although, Alabama took home the Iron Bowl Champ title fans from both teams say spirits remain high in the camaraderie of the game.

“Even though I’m wearing a flamboyant Auburn set up people kind of whisper “Roll Tide” and I go “War Eagle” back and it’s a lot of fun. We are having a lot of humor and a lot of good times for everybody,” Diggle said.


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