While the Eagles are still planning on playing home football games in 2020, they will likely do so without the live support of their fans. On Tuesday, Philadelphia officials said that fans would not be allowed to attend professional sports games in 2020. The city, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, announced a moratorium on all large public events that would require public permits through February of 2021.
Philadelphia managing director Brian Abernathy said that the city has been in communication with the Eagles while telling them that “our expectations are that they don’t have fans,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
While he is optimistic that games can be played inside Lincoln Financial Field this season, Philadelphia health commissioner Thomas Farley does not believe that having fans attend games is a good idea.
“I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they’re proposing,” Farley said. “I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there. I can’t say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds.”
Late last month, The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan reported that the NFL will allow each team to dictate their own stadium capacity policies. Earlier this month, the Ravens announced that the capacity at M&T Bank Stadium will be set to just 14,000, which is an 81.3% cut from the stadium’s normal capacity of roughly 71,000. The Chiefs and Packers have also announced that the capacity at their stadiums will be drastically reduced. On Wednesday, the Steelers announced that they are also anticipating a smaller allotted crowd at Heinz Field this season. The Steelers also stated that masks will be required at their home games.
Last Friday, the Jaguars announced that TIAA Bank Field will fill approximately 25 percent of its capacity at each home game while adding that “any future increase in capacity will depend on developments on the health and safety front.” Furthermore, the wearing of masks will be required for patrons upon entering the stadium. All Jaguars season tickets will be returned to current season ticket holders, who will have the opportunity to apply credited funds towards the payment of tickets for this season or for the 2021 season. The team also stated that full cash refunds will also be available upon request.
Despite the ongoing uncertainty that has been caused by COVID-19, the NFL is still planning on having a 17-week regular season (which a full slate of playoff games after that). The league hasn’t been immune to the pandemic, however, as the NFL has reduced the preseason from four games to two. Last month, the Pro Football Hall of Fame canceled its annual preseason game as well as its 2020 induction ceremony. This year’s Hall of Fame class will also be honored with their own ceremony next summer.
NFL training camps are expected to begin later this month, as teams will begin practicing together for the first time this offseason. Due to the pandemic, the league canceled OTAs and minicamps, which means that members of the 2020 rookie class have yet to take part in an official team practice.