The question was asked and some players responded. What will happen to the NFL, how will it affect teams and players if the NFL decides to play games with no fans in the stands? Former Chicago Bear Kyle Long who had the most interesting take on the possibility, at least IMO stated “I can promise you this, there will be teams that have historically have been juggernauts at home that may look like puppy dogs this year,” Long then went on to say “The road is no place for the weak of mind. I think this levels the playing field for a lot of people.” I do buy this argument for some teams where if good they are just about guaranteed 8 wins at home due to the over the top crowds that they can attract.
Is Kansas City now not the intimidating place to play that it has been for a very long time minus what might be the most rabid fan base on the NFL? The Kansas City Chiefs at their worse are able to fill their stadium to capacity and still give a so so Chiefs team the edge but now they are coming off their first championship in my lifetime (granted it did happen the same year as I was born but earlier in the year). So does the concept of taking away what might be an automatic 8 wins for such a stacked team with such a rabid fan base hurt their chances to repeat as Super Bowl champs? I suspect that depends on how the coaching staff deals with the situation and the mental aspect of coaching and motivating players but some players only shine on game day and those are the guys that feed off the energy of the crowd to get them mentally fired up. Can they find a new motivation? Like keeping their starting job?
Then there are players that do not think it has an affect on their play (which brings into question the entire concept of home field advantage). Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White plainly stated, “I don’t need all the hullabaloo to get me to play.” Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon, who previous to this season had played for the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers said, “Bro, we didn’t have fans anyway.” Mr Gordon is in for a surprise once all fans are allowed back into the stadiums during games as Denver is one of the longest running sell out for games in the NFL making it also one of the harder places for opponents to play in a normal year.
A player that does not seem to agree with either Devin White or Melvin Gordon is the Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald who recently told reporters, “I don’t see how you could play a game without the fans.” He went on to say, “I fee like that takes out the excitement and the fun out of the game.” Beyond that will the NFL have to remove the boom mic’s from the sidelines? Without the crowd noise it would be conceivable that things teams do not normally worry about being picked up on mic now would be due to the lack of fan noise.
So the Phinsider Question Of The Day is how do you think this will work out if the NFL does decide to go without fans in the stands? How do you think it will affect the games and things like home field advantage? Give us your thoughts!