Dallas Cowboys manager Mike McCarthy confirms that the team will host fans for their first home game.
The first week of the 2020 NFL season came and went, and the main sticking point was the lack of crowds. This obviously happened for good reason, as the United States is still facing the coronavirus pandemic, with no end in sight. Of the 16 teams that hosted the games last week, only two actually allowed a limited number of fans: the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Entering week 2, we can confirm a team that will allow fans to enter their stadium.
While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy revealed that the Cowboys will allow fans to enter the AT&T stadium for their opener at home against the Atlanta Falcons, but with a 25% capacity.
No specific details of the stage protocol were confirmed
It is important to note that this news comes from McCarthy’s mouth. Team owner Jerry Jones did not provide specific details on the stadium protocol on Tuesday, saying they “will play it by ear”. Jones hinted in August that the team was considering a pod system, which will allow fans to sit with family and friends at matches, where they will be socially distant from others in attendance.
Jones said they won’t announce a specific number of appearances until match day. So, if so, we’ll get an answer on Sunday.
The AT&T Stadium lists their capacity at 80,000 seats, which means that if we are to follow McCarthy’s comments, up to 20,000 fans will be allowed to watch the Cowboys opener. The Jaguars reduced their capacity to 25% for their opener at home against the Indianapolis Colts, while the Chiefs conceded 22% for the NFL Kickoff Game against the Houston Texans.
Having fans present during a global pandemic is a tall order for any team that decides to do so. Considering how quickly COVID-19 can spread, stadiums must have specific protocols to ensure that social distances are enforced and that those in attendance wear their masks at all times. Indeed, the teams are working with local government and public health officials to come up with a plan that will allow fans to participate safely.
The Cowboys have chosen to play shyly, so we won’t know the protocol until we see it in action on Sunday afternoon.