NFL owner predicts 2020 season will be played without fans in attendance
How weird would football be without fans in the stands?
That’s something we all have to potentially brace for in the coming months as we continue to deal with life following the coronavirus pandemic.
To be fair, no one really knows exactly what the world will look like tomorrow, much less months from now, but that hasn’t stopped people from speculating about the 2020 football season and whether it will be played as scheduled, whether it will be altered or whether it will be played at all this year.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is the latest influential sports figure to lend his opinion on the 2020 season as detailed by Peter King of NBC Sports. The way Blank sees the upcoming season playing out, the NFL is likely to play a full season although the Falcons’ owner does not anticipate fans being in the stadium at this time.
Here’s what Blank had to say when asked if he believed the 2020 NFL season would be played.
“If I had to speculate now, and I use the word speculate because that’s really all it is, I would say yes. Only because it’s so far away from where we are today,” Blank answered according to King. “I could easily see camps being shorter, players being tested on a daily basis, things of that nature. No fan attendance. Things like that.
“We may have fewer preseason games, which probably wouldn’t be the end of the world. But I think by September, my hope is by the time the regular season starts, that we’ll be able to bring people together in some form or fashion in a safe manner and play.”
While Blank certainly didn’t try to minimize the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL owner believes the impact created by football being played in the fall could be exactly what many fans around the country desperately need during these trying times.
“I do think we need football now,” Blank continued. “It’s hard to turn on any device you have today, almost any site, television, PCs, laptops, phones—without the first thing popping up being something on the virus. And that’s appropriate. However, I also think that people want a diversion.
“People want to be optimistic. People want to think about things that are really good times for themselves and their families and their loved ones and their communities. I think to have that kind of hope and aspiration mixed into your daily life is important.”