As the Steelers 2020 regular season approached, and it started to become more and more apparent that no or very few fans would be allowed to attend games thanks to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the first thought I had was: “How will this affect my viewing pleasure?”
That’s me, Mr. Priorities. But it’s true, that’s how I felt. Let’s face it, I’m from the town with the great football team that has sold out every single home game since I was born in 1972, the Year of the Immaculate Reception.
How would NFL games look and sound without fans in the stands? How about college football? Would it be the same without the frat boy standing with his hands on his head in total disbelief because Auburn just beat Alabama on a fluke missed field goal return for a touchdown? Would the pro games feel naked without Mr. We’re No. 1? How about Mrs. Woooooooo! around to add atmosphere?
I hate to break it to those people, but I don’t miss them all that much. I thought I would. I thought NFL games would feel lifeless, less fun.
But they haven’t. You know how some people say they wouldn’t watch a certain game if it was being played in their own back yard? OK, well, every NFL game is like watching two teams play each other in someone’s really expensive and fancy looking back yard.
I never realized how clean and pretty some of these stadiums looked without fans in the stands—no offense. As for the noise? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but that ambient sound stadiums have been pumping in during games, I mean, can you tell the difference between that and real fans cheering or groaning? I sure can’t.
You know what that means? First it was car washers, then it was gas-station attendants, and soon it will be cashiers. You can probably guess what’s likely to come after that? That’s right, live fans at sporting events.
I’m only kidding. They’ll never do away with fans (as far as you know), but I just can’t believe how quickly I’ve gotten used to watching NFL games without them around to add their own natural ambiance to the occasion.
You know what my favorite part of fan-less football has been, so far? Fumbles. That’s right, it just sounds so dramatic when a football is loose, because you can hear a half-dozen players or so screaming, “Ball! Ball! Ball!” Only problem with that is, it always sounds like the road team noticed it first.
Speaking of which, when the Steelers were trying very hard to blow their Week 2 game against the Broncos last Sunday at Heinz Field, I could be heard saying, “Come on, guys, you’re at home!” Like that mattered at all without Mr. We’re No. 1 or Mrs. Wooooooooooooo! in the stands.
It sure didn’t seem to matter to Mr. Official and his desire to throw 10 flags at the Steelers like they were the team that just flew cross-country and whose collective body-clock was behind by two hours.
Some teams have allowed a few thousand fans to attend games, even the Jaguars. Yes, who knew the Jaguars not only had fans, but they had fans who were willing to risk their health to watch them play in person? Anyway, I have to tell ya’, I’m so used to watching games without fans, when I see some in a stadium, now, I’m like, “What the hell are you doing there? You’re in the picture. Move!”
Finally, will they ever allow full stadiums again? I don’t care. No fans. No problem as far as my viewing pleasure is concerned.