ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – AT&T Stadium in Arlington hosted the iconic Rose Bowl New Year’s afternoon, making it only the second time in its history the game was played outside of Pasadena, California.

“It’s crazy, isn’t it?” said Mike Mahowald, an Alabama fan from Celina. “Probably a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

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(credit: Caroline Vandergriff/CBS 11 News)

Alabama took on Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff semifinal.

The Rose Bowl game was moved from its traditional site because of the ongoing pandemic. Rising COVID-19 case numbers in California forced the state to ban attendance at sporting events.

The last time the game was moved from Pasadena was in 1942, just weeks after Pearl Harbor was bombed.

“We’ll be telling our grandkids eventually one day and they’ll be like what, there was a Rose Bowl in Texas?” said Terry MacCauley, a Notre Dame fan from St. Louis. “So it is going to make it fun.”

(credit: Caroline Vandergriff/CBS 11 News)

AT&T Stadium has been hosting fans at football games since the Cowboys’ season opener back in September.

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“I think it’s been a long year for everybody,” MacCauley said. “We’re obviously big Notre Dame fans and haven’t been able to go to a game all year. We felt like this was going to be social distanced and not so many people here, so we thought let’s do it.”

The crowd has been kept at limited capacity, but many health officials still continue to advise people to avoid traveling or gathering in large groups to help prevent the spread of the virus.

All fans are required to wear masks inside the stadium and out in the parking lots.

Social distancing is encouraged, and seats are arranged in pods so people aren’t in close contact with fans they don’t know.

“The only thing I was surprised at, I expected to get a temperature check when I came in,” “Brent Wilcox, who drove from Alabama to come to the game. “They didn’t do that. But outside of that, everything seems pretty normal.”

Whoever wins today goes on to play in the College Football National Championship, which is scheduled for Monday, January 11 in Miami.

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Caroline Vandergriff