Matt Ryan
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was asked about potentially playing in empty stadiums that may have crowd noise pumped into them this year.

His response was utterly perfect.

For those who may not remember, the Falcons were famously fined $350,000 and lost a fifth-round draft pick in 2016. The reason? They had been busted pumping in fake crowd noise during games.

NFL games could be played without fans

The reason Ryan was asked the question in the first place, of course, is that the NFL may play games in empty stadiums this year. COVID-19 is still quite a big problem in the United States. In fact, 14 states have seen a significant uptick in new cases this past week with their highest-ever seven-day average of new coronavirus infections.

The NFL is still planning on playing games in front of fans this year. But the league is ready to evolve its plan if the coronavirus continues to spread.

The idea of pumping in crowd noise during NFL games has been discussed

We’ve seen Bundesliga pumping in fake crowd noise, and while the sound-board operators are top notch, it’s quite a weird experience.

Not surprisingly, the NFL is considering a similar plan if games must be played in empty stadiums this season.

“It’s pretty much a done deal,” FOX Sports broadcaster Joe Buck said recently during an interview with Andy Cohen Live on SiriusXM. “I think whoever is going to be at that control is going to have to be really good at their job and be realistic with how a crowd would react depending on what just happened on the field. So it’s really important. 

“And then on top of that … They’re looking at ways to put virtual fans in the stands, so when you see a wide shot it looks like the stadium is jam-packed and in fact it’ll be empty.”

So, this time, if the Falcons do play in an artificially-loud environment, it won’t be their fault.

Jesse Reed
Managing Editor at Sportsnaut. Featured on Yardbarker and MSN.com, and formerly was a breaking news writer/NFL analyst for Bleacher Report.