Playing college football through the COVID-19 is something that is totally new for current coaches, players, and fans in 2020. It isn't fully unprecedented in American history though, as one Georgia Tech football fan has shown.
Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium is among the most historic in the sport, opening in 1913. Five years later, the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic spread through the world. That season, Georgia Tech played seven games, going 6-1 and 3-0 against fellow SIAA teams Clemson, Furman, and Auburn.
Tech alumnus Thomas Carter attended a Georgia Tech home game that year, taking a picture from the stands. Fans at that game wore masks to help defend against the Spanish Flu.
In a pretty incredible moment, his great-grandson Andy McNeil is at Bobby Dodd Stadium today for Georgia Tech vs. UCF. He managed to score tickets in the same seats that Carter was in for that famous photo, and took his own. Once again, fans are in masks, watching college football.
There are plenty of good debates to be had about whether anyone should be playing or attending college football games right now. Some teams are having limited fans at home stadiums, including Georgia Tech football. If you make the choice to see college football games in person this year, please be like McNeil today and Carter over 100 years ago. Wear a mask, and abide by all social distancing guidelines. The Yellow Jackets, fresh off of an upset win over Florida State, trail UCF 28-14 at the half. [
Georgia Tech alum Thomas Carter took a photo at a 1918 football game during a flu pandemic.
More than 100 years later, his great-grandson Andy McNeil is back in those same seats, taking the same photo.
Masks helped reduce the spread of the virus then, and they're helping now! pic.twitter.com/FBLkESftQL
— Georgia Tech (@GeorgiaTech) September 19, 2020