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Report: NFL season ‘will go on as scheduled’ with ‘minimal fans’

MetLife Stadium aerial view
Credit: Wilaliam Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Just a month before players report for training camp, the NFL remains extremely confident the 2020 season will start on time despite the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this season could look a lot different than everyone is used to.

Will there be an NFL season?

As of Sunday, approximately a third of NFL teams have had a player test positive for COVID-19. Amid players expressing concern about the chances of football being played this fall, with some even suggesting they could sit out due to the risk, the league seems more confident than ever that there will be an NFL season.

In an interview with The Rich Eisen Show, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said conversations with league sources have given him the sense the 2020 season will go on as scheduled.

While the NFL canceled the Hall of Fame Game this year, the league remains confident that the regular season will begin on Sept. 10 when the Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans.

Even as multiple teams have encouraged the league to push back its regular-season schedule and start the season in October, Roger Goodell is sticking to the current timeline.

While locker rooms might be full when the regular season kicks off in September, it could be a while before we see crowded stadiums.

Will fans be allowed at NFL games?

As states like Texas, Florida and California experience record-highs in new COVID-19 cases regularly, the outlook for fans attending NFL games doesn’t look promising.

Optimism is quickly dwindling across the league, to the point that the NFL already seems to be moving forward with alternative plans. According to Ian Rapoport, the new expectation is games will be played with “minimal fans” early this season and the league will proceed with caution after.

The NFL already plans to let teams tarp off the lower rows in their stadiums and use it for advertising space. It would play a key role in significantly reducing attendance and it could just be the start in safety measures to avoid an outbreak.

While the league wishes it could allow fans to attend NFL games this season and fill stadiums, it knows that can’t happen. It will cost the league financially, but they are already preparing for it.

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