Stop for a minute and scroll up.
It doesn’t matter what device you are using. Phone, laptop, desktop or even tablet.
Just scroll up and look at the image attached at the top of this article.
Look at those Terrible Towels swirling and a packed Heinz Field roaring with raucous fans ready to do their part in helping the Pittsburgh Steelers win.
After what we’ve all experienced so far in 2020, and now 2021, the above image might be enough to make some go into a panic attack. In the age of social distancing and facial coverings, you have to wonder if the NFL will ever have fans packing stadiums again.
Sure, we all hope that happens, but will the NFL be regulating this, or the local states and municipalities? At this point, all anyone can do is speculate. With the NFL and NFLPA slated to meet soon, one of the talking points for the upcoming year will be attendance in 2021.
Will there be fans in seats? According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, it is looking good, but nothing is set in stone just yet.
“The biggest unknown in projecting revenue for 2021: Will stadiums be full come September?
“Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in early December he anticipated it “probably will be well into the end of the summer” before sports stadiums could return to capacity. And the pace of vaccinations nationally so far has lagged behind initial projections.
“When I asked the league’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, on Wednesday about Fauci’s statement and the greatest barrier to NFL stadiums being full this fall, Sills replied “I sure hope he’s right” and emphasized the safety and efficacy of the vaccines (which the NFL is promoting by inviting 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers to Super Bowl LV), while also expressing personal belief that supplies will increase substantially.
“Even if the general population hasn’t achieved herd immunity by September, most teams likely could find 65,000 card-carrying vaccinated fans willing to buy tickets. The problem with that approach is it also means telling anyone who can’t, or won’t, get vaccinated that they can’t come, especially if those people are season-ticket holders.”
At this point, the question is two-sided. Of course, the main question is whether fans will be allowed to attend games, but the next question is whether fans would want to return to see games in person.
Attendance in NFL stadiums was already going the wrong way before the COVID-19 pandemic, and you have to wonder how many fans will return, even when permitted. At Heinz Field, Pittsburgh Steelers fans were allowed to attend just a couple games in 2020, and never did they fill the allotted number of seats permitted by the state of Pennsylvania. However, it should be noted after the first game there was an uptick in attendance for the second home game with fans permitted to be in attendance.
What about you? Would you go to the game, if the league/state permitted? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.