Let's discuss if the NFL's policy on allowing fans is unfair to some teams
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer brought up a topic over the weekend; is it fair that some NFL teams will allow fans while others will not?
With the season just two weeks away and the Rona epidemic showing no signs of slowing down, some teams will have limited capacity for fans; others, like the Texans, will start off with none at all.
While it's arguable that 20,000-plus fans in an 80,000-seat stadium will have much impact on a football game, it still did not stop the Twitterati from raising questions. Why not a uniform rule? Announce the first month will be without fans, then re-evaluate?
Their answer seemed simple: Money.
Unlike the NBA, NHL and MLB, they argue the NFL wants every dollar it can squeeze. Even a limited number of fans will help build the coffers. More than those other leagues, the NFL could easily survive and even thrive without fans. But they are choosing to leave it up to the individual teams. And is that so bad? There will be roughly 17,000 fans at Arrowhead when the Texans open the season in two weeks. Of course, Chiefs fans have already shown they can't be trusted when they shed their masks at an open practice, but that's another issue.
The danger to the fans is not really a concern. If they want to risk getting the virus to see a football game in person, that's their choice. If the NFL is willing to enforce a mask and social distancing policy, then there really is no issue.
Will 17,000 fans give the Chiefs an advantage over the Texans? No. Houston should be more worried about stopping Patrick Mahomes and trying to hold them under 51 points.
So why not a uniform plan like the one mentioned above?
Every state has different rules right now. Fans in the stands will not raise the risk for players, because there will be no contact. If a team can get some fans in, why not let them? To Zimmer's point, it's hardly an advantage.
The rules, however, need to be enforced. No mask, no entrance. Masks to be worn unless drinking or eating. No one within several rows of each individual group. Basically, the same thing we are asking people to do in public at restaurants. If we can do it there, why not at stadiums?
And if it goes well at the stadiums that are allowing it, that should open things up for others. And why not?
Would I go to a game if allowed? No. I will enjoy it on my TV, and everyone has the right to make that choice. If you want to go, it is allowed by your team and you are willing to buy a ticket and follow the rules?
Enjoy the game. And no, you will not be an advantage.