Baltimore Ravens quarterback and reigning unanimous MVP Lamar Jackson is preparing himself for playing in front of no fans this season but is hoping that is not the case. The NFL season is currently set to go on as scheduled, potentially with a shorter preseason, but whether fans will be allowed into the stadiums is up in the air.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused sports around the world to stop and even as they slowly return, we are looking at a new normal for all involved.
Players may have to adapt, going from roaring crowds that give them a home-field advantage to silent stands with no one on scene to pump them up.
Jackson says the fans bring an element that the players value, and with that gone the games will feel much different.
He told The Ringer:
“It would feel like practice, but a very, very serious practice that counts. I would be disappointed because I want to see the faces, see people pumped up. The crowd brings energy.”
He added the team appreciates how the crowd amps up when their defense is on the field, making it difficult for the visiting team to communicate.
Each state is in a different stage of reopening, with some already allowing sporting events with fans and others not allowing sporting events at all.
The 2020 NFL season could look like anything from no fans permitted, to pumped in noise, to a limited capacity.
Some have suggested that if no fans are present at games, the TV broadcast should give viewers an inside look at what goes on on the field and sidelines, letting them hear what players are saying.
The latest Madden cover athlete is not too keen on this idea.
“No. We’re playing football. We don’t need everybody on the field with us. There’s too much extra stuff going on,” Jackson said.
The league is of course hoping it is safe enough to carry on a season with fans cheering live, but in such unpredictable times there is no knowing until the time comes.