Mark Herzlich: NFL Faces Huge Dilemma This Fall

If the NFL isn't safe for fans due to COVID-19, how can it be safe for players?

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
May 28, 2020 - 9:41 am
Nick Chubb Browns

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If the 2020 NFL season actually happens, there’s a very real chance that it will occur without fans. And if that is the case, television networks would almost certainly incorporate artificial noise during broadcasts.

But what about the players? Would it be strange for them to play in fan-less stadiums? Or would they eventually get used to it?

“I think teams would get used to it,” former NFL player Mark Herzlich said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “In reality, the amount of time when you’re actually playing football that you even realize that there’s fans in the stands is minimal. Maybe after a scoring play or you’re getting yelled at on the sideline by somebody, then you realize they’re there. But for the most part, you’re just kind of focused on what’s happening on the field. I think guys would get used to it. It’d be unfortunate, but at the time, I’d much, much rather have there be football and no fans. 

“I just don’t know how you do that,” Herzlich continued, referring to the coronavirus. “I don’t know how you say, ‘Hey, it’s not safe for fans, but we’re going to have 22 guys go and bump into each other and sweat all over each other and bleed on each other.' I don’t know how that’s possible.”

College football could face a similar dilemma this fall. If so, Herzlich believes fan-less stadiums would impact the college game more than the pro game.

“I think the ability for the NFL and the networks to make games look amazing on TV, I think it’s there,” he said. “You can see all the camera angles. You can kind of see everything. But I think one thing that makes the college game so special is the students. You get the students and you have the traditions and the stands and the tailgating. I just think that it’s more atmospherical, if that’s even a word, in the college game than in the pros. I couldn’t even imagine a Penn State-Michigan game without 100,000 people there. That would be insane.”