Fans celebrate first NFL Sunday in different ways amid pandemic


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — In a state filled with Razorback red, Justin Williford often dons green and gold.

“I love the Green Bay Packers,” Williford said. “I grew up cheering for the Packers when Brett Favre was there. He was my hero. After he retired, I made the jump, and now Aaron Rodgers is my hero.”

In past years, Williford sometimes went to restaurants or bars to watch games. This season, he said he plans to stay home and watch from his couch.

“I don’t think I’m gonna be in a restaurant this year,” Williford said. “That doesn’t seem like a risk-and-reward decision that makes sense for me.”

By the time Sunday’s early games started, Farrell’s Lounge was close to its required 66% capacity set by the state. Manager Michael White said the Dickson Street spot often draws Cowboys and Chiefs fans along with others.

“It’s different obviously than it has been in previous years,” White said.

Football Sundays are money-making days, White said, and Farrell’s is following guidelines and providing patrons a safe environment to enjoy games. Required masks and social distancing are expected.

“We always look forward to football season, both college and pro,” White said.

Each year, Farrell’s owner Tim Farrell buys NFL Sunday Ticket so fans of each team can catch must-see live games. The financial hit taken this season has made it a tough decision. They’re subscribed now, but it’s a “touch-and-go” situation for the rest of the schedule.

“What was normally an easy decision is not an easy decision,” White said.

Williford said many times leading up to Week 1, he wasn’t confident NFL football would be a reality. So, he encouraged fellow fans to treat every game with extra importance understanding next week’s matchups aren’t promised.

“I think we need to watch every game like it might be the last one we see, and it very well could and should be,” Williford said.

Editor’s Note: Michael White was incorrectly identified as the owner of Farrell’s in the broadcast story and on web. He is the manager, and the web story has been updated to reflect that. Tim Farrell is the owner of Farrell’s.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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