Column: NFL Should Exercise Caution When it Comes to Fans

While the world is still in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, things are starting to get back to normal. NASCAR and golf are back. It looks like the NBA season will resume in July and MLB is trying to start the season in July.

The NFL season is scheduled to start on time Sept. 10 in Kansas City. But will fans be able to attend games? Right now, the NFL is planning on having stadiums full for games this season.

“We are planning to have full stadiums until the medical community tells us otherwise,” NFL EVP of Football Operations Troy Vincent said in an interview on The Team 980. “Now remember when we’re talking—we’re talking about September, August, September. So there’s a lot that can happen here. So we’re planning for full stadiums.”

“We also know that we have to plan for half stadiums. Three-quarters. So we’re planning for all of these different scenarios,” Vincent said. “But first and foremost, we’re making every effort, working with the medical community, if we can have those stadiums with all people until they tell us otherwise when that time comes, that’s our plan. That’s our plan of action.”

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says that Vincent’s statement meshes with what he’s been hearing privately. However, the NFL should be cautious about having games with full stadiums. While we all want to attend sporting events again, it has to be safe for us to attend.

Medical experts have warned that reopening the country too soon could result in cases going back up. If sporting events are held in full stadiums, then we are risking people’s health and the number of coronavirus cases could spike back up.

The NFL shouldn’t be planning on having full stadiums right now. They should be planning for no fans or half-full stadiums. One team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, are making 50 percent of their tickets available to fans, according to Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports. Other NFL teams should do this because we don’t know what things will be like in the fall with the virus.

The NFL needs to lower its fan expectations a little bit. The virus could come back in the fall and you can’t have fans in the stands if that happens. NASCAR is running races right now without fans and the NFL should do the same until it’s safe for fans to attend games. If it’s not safe for fans to attend NFL games in the fall, then Fox Sports might add virtual fans so it appears that the stadiums are full, or pump in crowd noise.

There are alternative solutions; the NFL should make them the primary options, in order to protect the teams, and their biggest supporters.


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