Will the NFL Return With Fans?
With the NFL season set to kick off on September 10th, each team is working on their attendance plan. Most recently the Miami Dolphins announced that 13,000 fans with be able to attend their games set to take place in September. The same goes for the Miami Hurricanes who share the stadium with the Dolphins. This comes as a surprise to many as Florida has been hit hard by COVID-19 the past few months. Other teams are planning to have fans in September, but the Dolphins are the team with the largest announced capacity as of now. The Steelers, Browns, Colts, Jaguars, Chiefs, and Cowboys are planning to have a limited amount of fans, but no official plan for those teams have been announced.
With the NBA bubble model proving to be a success so far, some have called for the NFL to adopt a similar model. One possibility is that for the NFL postseason the games would shift to a bubble. Some feel this is necessary after the way the NBA and WNBA have been able to have no positive tests in their bubbles. On the other hand, MLB has struggled to keep COVID-19 under control. Games have been postponed and there is speculation that the league will not make it through the entire season. The MLS has also been able to successfully pull off the bubble concept with considerably less resources than the NBA.
With NFL teams sorting through their attendance plans, another challenge the league is facing is false positive COVID-19 tests. In total there were 77 false positive tests from 11 different teams. The bigger question that these false positive tests present is what happens if this occurs during the regular season. One potential problem is a superstar player getting a false positive test and then having to miss an important game. Overall, all sports leagues are facing major challenges, and fans are keeping their fingers crossed that they will be getting NFL games in just a few weeks.