FALCON POINTS

Let's discuss if the NFL's policy on allowing fans is unfair to some teams

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images.

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.


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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans no match for the Ravens

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Texans fell to the Ravens 33-16 in a game they had a shot at winning. Most of you reading this will probably think I'm crazy for saying that. I assure you, I meant what I said. One of the reasons they didn't was because Bill O'Brien made a few questionable decisions that cost this team.

The first was the 4th & 1 decision. Deciding to go for it was bad enough. They were down 3-0 near the end of the first quarter with the ball on their own 34-yard line. This is not a situation that calls for a gamble or statement play. The play call itself was okay I guess: a play action bootleg with two short options. It was read and played perfectly by the Ravens defense. Deshaun Watson had nowhere to go with the ball and had to throw it at Darren Fells' back before getting sacked. That led to a quick Ravens touchdown and an early 10-0 deficit. I seriously think he has PTSD after that playoff loss to the Chiefs when it comes to fourth down calls. Bumbling Bill strikes again!

When they got the ball back, they scored a touchdown thanks to more play action passes and pre-snap motion. It was as if Bumbling Bill realized his offensive line was outmatched by the front seven they're opposing. Sure Watson is mobile and looks like a magician escaping sacks, but misdirection helps throw the defense off and keeps Watson from breaking into 177,000,000 pieces. Oh, and the quick reads were a good idea as well. Too bad Bumbling Bill went away from that and opted for longer developing routes. Or will he blame it on Timid Tim Kelly? Or was Waiting Watson holding onto the ball too long? I blame all three.

Also, can we stop starting drives with the predictable run, run, pass combo please? First down should be play action rollout with Watson having the ability to choose to run if it's there. More run/pass/option plays need to be called as well. Incorporate more things that we saw when Watson was on his way to winning rookie of the year before his knee was sacrificed for the Astros.

Credit where it's due: the end of the first half to get a field goal with a minute and change left was good to see. Typically, these situations tend to make Bumbling Bill come out. I liked the quick slant to Cobb with no timeouts. They were able to spike the ball and get the field goal up.

The game was still within reach at 23-13 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. On a 4th & 1, they gave up a 30 yard touchdown run on a direct snap to Mark Ingram. I saw gaps on both sides of the defensive line pre-snap. Sure enough, Ingram got a lead block from the Ravens human plough of a fullback and that effectively put the nail in the coffin at 30-13. I know the tendency is to quarterback sneak or run up the middle, but don't leave gaps along the defensive line trying to stack the middle. First time defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver will take the L on this one.

Overall, I'll give O'Brien and his coaching staff a C- this game. Mistakes were made that could've cost them a legit shot at winning, but the Keke Coutee fumble return for a touchdown wasn't their fault. The play calling menu was brought to us this week by Craft Pita via the "What's Eric Eating" podcast. Tune in next week for another "Not my job!"

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