By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra –thenyextra.com
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy confirmed early Monday afternoon the policy about fan attendance at Giants and Jets games this coming season –there won’t be any fans in the stands. You won’t be heading out to the Meadowlands or Florham Park for training camp either.
That is, if the pandemic keeps its current course.
It was one of two major issues that will have an impact on the presumed 2020 season.
The gubernatorial current edict doesn’t allow outdoor gatherings of 500 or more people. So, could both teams just have a lottery of 100 to 200 tickets each for camps and games? Not likely. If you are a season ticket holder or have individual tickets, check your team’s website.
If the college football season begins, Rutgers will be in the predicament. They could feasibly have their games, and it would be a boost to the program with the Greg Schiano Era 2.0 to kick off.
Philadelphia even took a bolder move recently when they initially halted all large public gatherings that require a public permit through February. However, within a day or two, city officials changed their tune and stated fans could possibly attend games if the coronavirus situation lessened and if fans strictly follow guidelines.
Take a note, Governor Murphy.
From the start of the pandemic, the NFL has been cavalier about staying on track for the season, pushing forward with blinders on without turning their neck a twitch.
They improvised for the draft, and it was full-steam ahead after that.
Playing games without fans has been one of their assumptions from the beginning, as they have explored the idea of pumped in crowd noise to try and provide the real effect. If you haven’t yet, watch a few innings of a MLB game. You really begin to realize how the crowd is the perfect backdrop.
Yet, there is the other part of the story.
The league and the NFL Players Association also agreed Monday on daily COVID-19 testing for the first two weeks of training camp.
After those weeks of camp –some that begin will rookies this week – positive testing would have to be below five percent to reduce it to every other day. If testing rises above five percent, daily testing would resume. Should the rate become higher, it would likely be a shortened or ended season.
Testing, though, is a good sign as player reps were adamant about precautions in place to avoid their shutdown of the season.
The league and the NFLPA also likely will be inclined to eliminate all preseason games and allow camp sessions to continue until the opening kickoff Sept. 10. Numerous high schools on the east coast are holding daily two-hour workouts in hope of enclosing and curbing any Coronavirus player cases. Players have been fine, but coaches have been infected with the virus.
There is an overwhelming theory by the NFL and others that the pandemic will end timely in September and the country and sports will return to normal. But how do we really know?
The NFL and its players will keep plowing forward, but they’ll keep a sharp eye on the state of baseball over the next month.
Cross your fingers and say a prayer. We do need the NFL this fall and winter.
Remember, you can live with the fake crowd noise.