Could we see a 2020 season without football fans?

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson //@LJ1303

We’re inching closer to the 2020 NFL season and the question about fans in the stands still remains.

The New York Giants announced via email that season ticket members now have the option to forgo the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ticket members will not lose their seating rights or license if they choose to stay home. The New England Patriots released a statement of their own, saying that higher risk fans now have the option to opt-out this year without the penalty of losing their seats to other fans on the waiting list

As NFL teams prepare and announcements are made, fans are facing decisions of their own. After all, football season is right around the corner.

It certainly looks like the NFL is dead set on returning with fans or without. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci is weighing in, releasing a statement that suggested that the NFL should play its season in an isolated location.

“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,” Fauci said. “If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.”

With NFL training camps set to open back up in a couple of weeks, it’s been reported by Pro Football’s Talk Mike Florio that the NFL is now considering giving some players and coaches with high-risk family members the option of sitting out the league year. We could soon see a major shift in the NFL if this policy is put into effect. Much like teams are doing across the board with season ticket members, if you don’t feel safe, you will have the option to stay home.

I asked several local (Miami) season ticket holders that same question. With the latest Covid-19 data, do you or any other family members plan to attend any NFL games this year?

Long time Miami Fan CutlerRidge Laz says, “No ma’am, as much as I love the game and team. I can’t risk my families and my health only to attend a game.”

Twitter agreed with CutlerRidge Laz.

Another long time and very popular fan Jen (@DolphinDiva) Schultz added this:  “For me, home games during football season are an entire weekend event. Saturday is generally spent prepping, packing, etc. and getting ready for Gameday Sunday. For a 1 pm game, we arrive at the stadium at 8 am, get into our spots, and begin the tailgating party.”

“For me, the tailgating is almost as important, if not more important than the actual game. I absolutely love hanging out and seeing so many fans of the game. During the game, it’s cheering and celebrating with a group of friends and fans that you have known for years. From the yelling ‘Defense’, to high fives and hugs for touchdowns, these are what makes gameday what it is.”

She went on to say, “This is why I find it difficult to imagine attending games under any conditions where doing all this is not possible. For months I have pondered what a 2020 NFL season would look like, and if there would even be one. I can’t imagine going to a game and not being able to tailgate, I can’t imagine limiting the number of fans who can attend each game.”

“So now let’s assume the NFL goes with business as usual, would I be comfortable? Honestly, no I would not. As much as I love football and attending games if there is a season I will be watching from home.”

Like many of the fans I spoke to, there is one thing we all seem to agree on, this 2020 NFL season will certainly have a different feel. Many also said they will gladly go with certain restrictions in place. Some even saying they would gladly give up some games to attend 2-4 games this season to help implement social distancing.  With players scheduled to start reporting to training camps in less than a month, the NFL might have their answer sooner than later.

 

Follow Lisa on Twitter @LJ1303

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