NFL won’t take a “one-size-fits-all approach” to fan attendance
Some teams have announced they plan to have fans at all their home games this season. Others have said they will begin the season with no fans. Some have yet to announce.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, whose team is expected to begin its home schedule without fans, took issue with the lack of uniformity last week. He called it a “competitive disadvantage.”
On Monday, Bills coach Sean McDermott called it “ridiculous” that the NFL has an inconsistent policy.
“The decisions are made first by state and local health authorities who make the determination as to whether or not it’s permissible for any number of fans or none to congregate at the state,” Jeff Miller, the league’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, said Monday during a conference call. “We’ve abided by all those state and local public health guidelines. Our clubs have worked closely with those officials in every state to understand what the parameters are. That’s what going to lead us going forward too as the situation evolves over the next weeks and months. We’ll continue to stay in touch with these officials who obviously put, as we do, the health of the community first and abide by their declarations, and we’re doing that in all of the states and all the communities where our teams are playing. . . . It’s a determination of how many fans, if any, are permissible in the state and local communities where our teams play.”
Unlike baseball, which has a uniform policy banning all fans from attending its games, the NFL is putting the onus on state and local governments to make those decisions.
“It’s not surprising that there are regional variabilities, because obviously there are differences in the state of the pandemic and the state of the infection as you move across the country,” Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL chief medical officer, said. “So the fact that there’s not one-size-fits-all approach shouldn’t be surprising given the medical situations across the league.”