TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Thousands of excited football fans partied in streets around the University of Alabama after the Crimson Tide defeated Ohio State 52-24 for the national championship, ignoring pleas for common sense and safety at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Students and others poured out of jam-packed bars near campus as time expired in Miami late Monday, traffic cameras and images posted on social media show, gathering on University Boulevard in an area called “The Strip.”
Many of the fans screaming and cheering as they pressed against each other in the street didn’t wear face masks. The scene was exactly what officials feared before the game as they urged people to watch at home and celebrate privately.
“Cheer, celebrate, and enjoy the success of our team, but please do so responsibly and safely. Roll Tide!,” Police Chief Brent Blankley said in a statement beforehand. Police cars and officers are visible at the fringes of the throng in some images.
People lined up to get in bars hours before kickoff, The Tuscaloosa News reported. Despite the threat of COVID-19, the celebration eclipsed the size of previous ones during coach Nick Saban’s string of titles at Alabama.