The 2020 NFL season is set to begin in early September, and the league has yet to announce anything that would change that. But if the season does start on time, there's a chance that fans won't be allowed to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Redskins head coach Ron Rivera was asked about the possibility of playing in an empty stadium, and the 58-year-old found a silver lining to the idea of it.
"If you're the home team, you kind of wish you had your folks in the stands," Rivera told WUSA9's Darren Haynes. "When you have to go someplace like Dallas or Philadelphia, it might be refreshing that you don't have their fans in the stands. That's for darn sure."
🚨🚨MUST SEE🚨🚨#Redskins Head Coach Ron Rivera gives a PERFECT explanation why playing NFL games with NO FANS may not be that bad!!!! 🤣🤣🤣— Darren M. Haynes (@DarrenMHaynes) May 19, 2020
More tonight at 6p & 11p on @wusa9
For more: https://t.co/qn3Qo8RnPg@dallascowboys @Eagles @WUSA9sports #HTTR pic.twitter.com/je9hrX7PY5
Dallas and Philadelphia have two of the toughest stadiums to play in. The Eagles pack Lincoln Financial Field for every home game and have one of the most raucous fan bases in the entire league. The Cowboys have the NFL's largest stadium, as over 100,000 people attend every Dallas home game.
The Redskins travel to Dallas in Week 12 for a Thanksgiving clash with the Cowboys. Washington heads to Philadelphia in Week 17 to close out the season.
Both venues have not been kind to the Redskins as of late.
Washington has not won in Dallas since Week 17 of the 2015 season when the Cowboys started backup Kellen Moore in the season finale. Dallas has won seven of the last eight games between the two clubs and nine of the past 11.
Things have not gone much better in Philadelphia, where the Redskins have not won since December of 2016. The Eagles have currently won six straight matchups against Washington, the longest winning streak in the rivalry since Philadelphia won seven in a row from 2001-2004.
While it might initially feel "refreshing" to play a road game without fans in the stands for Rivera, he certainly hopes that is not the reality. The head coach understands how important fans are and how much they can influence a team.
Since taking over as head coach of the Redskins, Rivera has preached building a new culture -- a winning culture -- in Washington. One thing that he's stayed consistent with is emphasizing the need for the Redskins fan base to rally behind the team.
"We also need to have the fans get behind us," Rivera told local media in early April. "It’s one of the things that I was very fortunate to happen for us when we were in Carolina. Our first two years we showed promise. We gave fans a reason to come out and cheer for us."
Now with Washington, Rivera hopes to do the exact same. Over the past few years, fans of the opposing team have taken over FedEx Field; it was not a pretty sight for the Redskins or their fans. So, when fans are allowed back into the stadium, the head coach wants to make sure FedEx Field looks nothing like it did in years prior.
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