The 2020 NFL season is back, and with a bang after the first game between current champions, the Chiefs trashed the Texans 34-20. But one thing that was common among all the matches for week 1 is that there were no fans in the stands.
For most stadiums, fans were prohibited from attending games due to COVID-19 rules placed to curb the spread of this deadly virus that has disrupted the sports world since the start of 2020. The comeback season looked more of practice sessions rather than a full game experience.
Players from different clubs were left with an ‘eerie’ feeling, and loss of environment was evident once you subtract about 75,000 fans. The experience was not the same for pro football matches, and it still surreal for both players and fans across the globe.
On Sunday, the New Orleans Saints recorded a massive victory against the Buccaneers at the expense of Tom Brady. Players hoped for the music to blared with house soundtrack as their respective fans danced to the drums’ backdrops, heavy bass, and brass horn. However, that wasn’t the scenario on the ground during week 1 of the NFL 2020 season comeback.
All was felt at the cavernous stadium was an empty feeling, and environment loss as the Saints beat the Buccaneers. Jared Cook, who plays as the Saints Tight End, when asked about how it felt, he was quick to state that it was eerie.
It was so quiet despite the artificial crowd noise pumped in; you could still feel the loudest sounds coming from the thud on kickoffs. The NFL atmosphere was not the same.
Cook added that the players had to bring out their own energy, which was very unusual and different because, before all this, it was the fans’ work to fuel and get them going throughout the match.
However, the NFL league has implemented some ambiance by allowing a loop of background crowd noise in the stadiums that are played via PA systems. Even with such an attempt, it can’t come close to simulating a game-day atmosphere with fans in the stands.
The fake noise coming from the PA system was set at 70 decibels, and it sounded more of a whisper than the feeling of fans cheering their favorite teams.
It seems we won’t be seeing fans in the stadiums for the return of the 2020 NFL season unless the local governments deem it safe enough for large crowds to gather. And that’s why coaches and players will have to accept things as they are, just like the MLB is doing with the likes of NBA.
At the moment, NFL football has been stripped down to the bare essentials. But from week 1, it’s quite evident how the crowd can generate the game atmosphere for big plays.
Meanwhile, the world itself will have to deal first with the coronavirus pandemic and look forward to a workable COVID-19 vaccine that might help bring back normality to the sports world.
Rachel Lott is a Reporter for Chroniclex After graduating from Cuyahoga Community College, Rachel got an internship at USA Evening and worked as a Reporter and Producer. Rachel has also worked as a Reporter for WKYC TV and Fox News Channel. Rachel Covers International Developments.