Regardless of the Washington Football Team's lack of success over recent years, almost all of their home games against the division rival Philadelphia Eagles have been nearly full.
Sure, there's a large chunk of Philadelphia fans who usually make the two-hour trip down Interstate-95 to support their favorite team, but there's still plenty of Washington faithful that have come out to support the Burgundy and Gold, win or lose.
This past Sunday marked a rare first in the teams' several-decade rivalry, because FedExField was empty due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Washington upset the Eagles 27-17, and several players said afterward they wish fans were able to be in attendance to celebrate with the team.
On Wednesday, quarterback Dwayne Haskins was asked how it was different playing in a fanless environment. The 23-year-old's response was golden.
"I missed the boos," Haskins said. "I missed the Philly fans screaming at us on the sideline."
For the second-year quarterback, the thrill of having to deal with all the outside noise from fans while focusing on the task at hand of winning a football game is something he truly missed.
"That's probably the most fun thing about football, not the interaction with fans but all the different stuff that you hear on the field," Haskins said. "Just trying to stay locked in and not letting the atmosphere of game day get in your head and distract you from playing well."
That same sentiment was felt by one of his teammates in rookie Chase Young.
"After the game, my mom and dad told me that on TV, they had the fan noise and stuff like that, on TV it looked like a real game," Young said. "They heard the crowd and everything. But when we were on the field, it was quiet. When the offense was on the field, you could hear a pencil drop."
Well, Washington handled the unusual environment quite well, as the defense's eight-sack effort in the opener led the team to its first win over Philadelphia since 2016.
As games across the NFL are held in fanless environments for the foreseeable future, Haskins and co. know they have to find energy in other areas to end up victorious on game day.
"Just trying to figure out ways to make it feel real with the crowd noises," Haskins said on finding energy. "I know some teams have some fans in the stadium. Just making it feel like a game. Making a big play on third down and hyping the offensive line up and getting guys going."