JAKOB LUCAS, Special to The Denisonian—The start of the National Football League (NFL) season is right around the corner for 2020 and with a pandemic raging, many questions have arisen over how the league will operate this year.
Two other major sports leagues have already resumed operation, the NBA and NHL, to great success and minimal confirmed cases. Those two sports have resumed in a bubble, isolating players, coaches and other essential personnel in a limited area in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Furthermore, there are no fans allowed within the bubble whatsoever. This has worked beyond expectations with the NBA and NHL seeing very few incidents and no outbreaks thus far.
However, the NFL has decided to forgo that method and introduce their own. Teams are required to follow guidelines regarding mask wearing, cleaning, and other safety measures. Teams have needed to have all players and personnel wear masks at all times “unless a mask cannot be worn due to interference with the performance of athletic activities.” Furthermore, teams have been instructed to try and restrict facility use as much as possible and to divide practices into smaller sections. All of this in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst a team, thereby preventing it from spreading to opposing teams.
Despite all the good the NFL seems to be doing its issue resides with how they’re handling attendance at games. The NBA and NHL have banned fans from all their games with their bubble strategy.
The NFL doesn’t seem to believe that having fans in attendance poses much of a risk factor.
The NFL has elected to allow each team to make their own decisions regarding fans at their home games. It appears there is only one limitation: these decisions must follow the respective states’ COVID-19 related policies.
While some states have opted for the safest option, allowing zero fans to attend games, others believe they can safely allow for social distancing by opening to fans at 25% capacity.
Finally there’s a smaller group of teams allowing more than 25% of their stands to be filled, a definitely questionable move. Some of these policies are subject to change depending on how the pandemic unfolds.
Look to the list below to see how each team currently stands on their spectator policy.