Breer: Empty Stadiums Will Impact NFL Games

NFL attendance policies could vary by city this season, which would absolutely affect the product on the field

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
May 19, 2020 - 8:45 am
Bengals Stadium

USA Today Images


It remains to be seen exactly how the coronavirus pandemic will impact the 2020 NFL season, but there’s a very real chance that attendance policies could vary by team – or, better yet, by city or state.

“I certainly think there’s a scenario out there where some teams will be free in their cities to open their stadiums to fans when we get in the fall,” The MMQB NFL insider Albert Breer said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Maybe it’s not a full stadium, but I think there will be teams that will be able to do that. So then the question becomes are we okay opening, say, Arrowhead Stadium to fans or AT&T Stadium in Dallas to fans or U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota to fans – and not have MetLife Stadium in New York or Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia open to fans? I think that’s another question they’re going to have to answer. Those sorts of inequities, I think, are going to exist, and I think the NFL is going to have to find a way to live with them.”

That shouldn’t be too difficult. After all, money is a great motivator.

“I think that the main focus here a) is to [maximize] the amount of money they can get,” Breer said. “I think b) it’s going to be whatever inequities are created from team to team, I think there will be a real effort to try to maintain competitive balance there, so one team really isn’t benefiting from this in a way another team can’t.”

While fan-less stadiums will impact team and league revenue, they will also impact the product on the field – pre-snap, in particular.

“So much of football is plays being called in the huddle and then signaling and [adjusting] and all this different stuff – [and that] is certainly going to play into the way the game is being played,” Breer said. “I think that part of it is will be fascinating. Do we all get to hear that? Because if we get to hear that on the TV, well, then other teams are going to be able to hear it, too. That becomes a very real part of the game. If we all get the benefit of hearing all the back and forth on the field, you better believe that NFL teams are going to have their DVRs set and they’re going to be paying attention to what’s being said on those broadcasts and they’re going to try to decode it. They’re going to try to use it to their advantage. This could really affect the way the game is played. I think all of that is 100 percent in play.”