NFL games played in empty stadiums?? Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank can see it, saying he thinks the league might have to go that route in 2020 amid coronavirus concerns.
“I could easily see camps being shorter, players being tested on a daily basis, things of that nature,” Blank said. “No fan attendance. Things like that.”
Blank revealed the bleak possibility to Peter King over the weekend … saying the risk of infection might still be too high for fans to be at NFL games — even in September.
Of course, fanless matches ain’t exactly a new phenomenon in COVID-19 times … soccer games overseas were already doing that before the lockdown — and the NBA is reportedly considering doing the same if/when it returns this summer.
Blank says he also thinks the NFL could have a shorter preseason … but he still believes a 16-game regular season schedule is very much on the table for the league at this point.
“If I had to speculate now, and I use the word speculate because that’s really all it is, I would say yes [to 16 games],” Blank said. “Only because it’s so far away from where we are today.”
The Falcons owner added he believes football is necessary to help heal people during the global pandemic.
“I do think we need football now,” Blank said. “It’s hard to turn on any device you have today, almost any site, television, PCs, laptops, phones — without the first thing popping up being something on the virus.”
“And that’s appropriate. However, I also think that people want a diversion. People want to be optimistic. People want to think about things that are really good times for themselves and their families and their loved ones and their communities. I think to have that kind of hope and aspiration mixed into your daily life is important.”
The NFL is tentatively scheduled to kick off its season on Sept. 10.