We got a little glimpse of what an empty stadium will look like when the Denver Broncos season begins. Void of cheering, filled only with the sounds of the players and coaches, Mile High Stadium looked and felt... strange.
To combat the odd feeling of a stadium lacking fans the Broncos are joining the ranks of franchises across sport that are giving fans a chance to fill the stadium with cardboard cutouts. It won’t completely fix the problem, but it’s a start.
And it is all for a good cause. Choose your picture, and submit it with $100, and you can attend the home opener against the Tennessee Titans. The proceeds will go to benefit Broncos charities.
As Ian and I discussed, there are several options. You could pick the standard picture of yourself, but Ian’s idea was a bit outside the box. One of the all-time great fans, the Barrel Man definitely deserves a spot. Maybe the Leprechaun? I like the idea of a whole section in the stadium dedicated to Barrel Man.
Not that having fans in the stands matter, if you believe what Roger Goodell and the competition committee have said.
Roger Goodell just said on a conference call with reporters that he and the Competition Committee have concluded that a competitive advantage does not arise when some teams have fans present and others don't.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 1, 2020
With some teams opting to not have fans in the stadiums during games, the Competition Committee determined that teams with fans in the stands have no competitive advantage. That’s right. All these years teams have been struggling for home field advantage, but it was pointless.
It is absolutely ludicrous to believe that a team playing in front of home fans has no advantage over teams playing without fans at all. 75 thousand screaming fans makes no difference. That is apparently what the NFL thinks of you.
What they do see is dollar signs. Forcing all teams to abide by mandates that don’t allow fans may seem unfair to the fans in the cities that are allowed to have them in their stadiums. However, declaring it doesn’t give a competitive advantage is a copout. It’s an attempt to justify allowing fans in certain cities, all so owners can make as much money as possible.
Like Ian said, I’d rather play the Chiefs without fans at Arrowhead than with fans there.