Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all had to make sacrifices in our daily lives. Of course, one of the biggest blows to the heart has been the inability to attend professional sporting events. Nothing is for certain just yet, but some NFL teams believe they’re going to have fans in the stands – just not all of them.
The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs became the latest team to announce plans to have fans in the stands when they host the Houston Texans for Thursday Night Football on Sept. 10. On Monday, the Chiefs said they would limit the attendance at Arrowhead Stadium to 16,046 fans (or roughly 22 percent) this season.
For reference, Arrowhead Stadium holds 72,936 fans for a game. The Chiefs announced they would adjust attendance at home games later in this season, depending on conditions.
The 16,040 fans expected at the stadium wouldn’t even be the fewest for a Chiefs game in their franchise’s history. In December 1982, there were only 11,902 fans in KC for a game against the New York Jets. In December 1983, the matchup against the Broncos brought in only 11,377 fans.
Could “Pods” Work?
One idea being floated around is using “pods,” that would keep fans safer from one another. Among those teams are the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots, both of which are owned by some of the boldest owners in the NFL – Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft.
“Talking with different #NFL teams, the buzz word you’re going to hear a lot for fan attendance is ‘pods,’ said Charles Robinson, Senior NFL reporter for Yahoo, on Twitter. “The goal is moving toward finding clusters of people who have made a decision to cluster together (while masking up), then distance the clusters from one another in stadium.”
Some Teams Have Already Said No
It will undoubtedly be a weird sight having teams with fans in the stands while others won’t. Teams like the New York Giants and New York Jets, who play in nearby East Rutherford, New Jersey, and the Buffalo Bills are not allowed by a state-ordered mandate.
More teams not allowing fans are the Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, the Washington Football Team, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, and San Francisco 49ers.
Going forward, there are numerous issues with having fans in the stands. The coronavirus has taken over while a ton of worry is going around the league and society in general.
It’s not clear whether fans will be able to enter these stadiums alone or in groups of two or four. The immediate thought was to just simply the situation and make stadiums only half or two-thirds full and have them spaced out enough to where things were as safe as possible.
The numbers don’t account for family members but do for friends of the players on the team. According to Robinson’s report from Yahoo, those people would likely be sat together.
You have to wonder how much of a home-field advantage it will be to have stadiums at 25 percent capacity. Not to mention, fans will seemingly be in their own little literal bubble wearing masks that will probably deafen the noise.
Two of the three teams we mentioned will probably be solid in their own right, no matter if there’s one fan or 70,000 in the stadium. The Patriots will likely need a little more to get by with Tom Brady down in Tampa Bay this season.