The majority of NFL teams have announced that there will be a significantly reduced capacity at their fields and stadiums throughout the 2020 season, but there are some who are pulling the plug on that idea altogether.
The Raiders announced that they would not allow any fans at their home games in 2020, which, coincidentally, is the same year in which they were set to move into the brand-new Allegiant Stadium. Other teams, such as the Eagles and the Jets/Giants, play in cities where executive orders have prevented sizable outdoor gatherings to this point.
Now, the Washington Football Team has made their decision regarding fans official, as well.
Owner Dan Snyder announced his reasoning for such a move in a statement released on Wednesday morning (via Washington Football Team official website).
"We are fortunate to host the best fans in the NFL year after year, but the well-being of those supporters, along with that of our players, coaches and each and every member of our gameday staff is simply too important, and the current knowledge of COVID-19 too unpredictable, to welcome our fan base to FedExField to start the season. We were the first team in the league to recall our scouts and other personnel from the field back in mid-March and have been monitoring this evolving situation ever since. This decision was not an easy one, but after several discussions with federal, state and local officials – along with input from some of the nation's foremost medical experts, based right here in the nation's capital – we are confident that it is the right one. We are working to find ways to make our fans' presence felt in new and innovative ways for 2020 and can't wait to welcome the community through the gates as soon as it's safe."
However, the team also mentioned that the decision will be re-evaluated by team executives, health officials, and other parties to determine whether or not fans can come to games if conditions improve. There have been 12,896 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington, D.C. to this point, with 89 new cases on August 10. There have been 593 deaths.
Though the decision is undoubtedly a smart and prudent one, it still had its fair share of Twitter users poking fun at the lack of attendance.
When sorting 2019 team attendance by the percentage of stadium capacity that was filled on average, Washington was the third-lowest (79.9%), trailed only by Tampa Bay and Cincinnati (via ESPN).
The Eagles, set to play against Washington in Week 1, will now play at least their first three games without fans, with the outlook in San Francisco for Week 4 looking bleak due to how hard the Bay Area was hit by coronavirus.