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Roger Goodell doubles down on lack of competitive advantage for teams that have fans in stands

Mike Florio and Chris Simms disagree with Roger Goodell's assertion that some teams having fans in stadiums while others don't will not create a competitive imbalance in the league.

During a Tuesday conference call with reporters, Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he and the Competition Committee have agreed that there’s no competitive advantage if some teams have fans in the stands and others don’t, due to the varying rules of the pandemic. During a Wednesday appearance on CNBC, Goodell doubled down -- and he expanded greatly the scope of the entities who believe there’s no competitive edge.

“I would probably take issue with the fact that it’s a huge competitive advantage,” Goodell said in response to a question that acknowledged in its framing the obvious existence of a dramatic edge for teams with fans. “As you know, our stadium sizes are different across the league. The attendance is different on a normal season. We do not see and our clubs do not see a competitive advantage at all whether fans are in one stadium or another.”

Some of the clubs see a competitive advantage, however. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has said so. Bills coach Sean McDermott has as well. Raiders owner Mark Davis likewise has said that if one team can have no fans, no teams should have fans.

Although the public discourse in America now routinely feature assertions that simply aren’t objectively credible, in most cases there’s a tactical reason for making that claim, a base to which the statements cater. Here, who’s the base? Where’s the percentage of fans insisting no matter what that there’s no competitive advantage?

Maybe the base in this case consists of one -- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, the only owner who has claimed that there’s no competitive advantage . . . as he prepares to host up to 50-percent capacity in his cavernous stadium for Cowboys home games.

Regardless, few will co-sign the concept that there’s no competitive advantage to teams that have fans present and those that don’t. And for good reason; of course there’s a competitive advantage.