The scene of an NFL stadium full of fans, a staple of fall for decades, is likely a long way off.
The latest reality check came from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. In a radio interview with WQKI on Tuesday, Whitmer expressed confidence that games will be played in the fall but also spoke of doubt about Ford Field being full for Detroit Lions games, or the Big House being sold out for Michigan games, due to the coronavirus.
At this point, football games in empty or mostly empty stadiums appear to be a best-case scenario for the season.
Governor: ‘We’re not going to be filling stadiums’
If there are football games in the fall, it will look different.
“There is reason to feel some confidence here,” Whitmer told WQKI, via the Detroit Free Press. “But we also have to measure expectations and say life’s going to be different. We’re not going to be filling stadiums in the fall.”
The Free Press story said Whitmer was interrupted before expanding on that thought about not filling stadiums.
If there are no crowds in Michigan or they’re limited, it doesn’t just affect the Lions, of course. Whenever the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons play again, those games will look different. The FBS college football programs in the state, most notably the University of Michigan and Michigan State, might have to deal with a new normal for at least this season.
The 2020 season will be unusual, if it happens.
Many hurdles remain for football
The NFL went ahead with its schedule release, though everyone is aware it might not happen as the league announced.
Whitmer’s remarks are a reminder that decisions being made at the state level of government could factor in. If events are not allowed in certain states, that could wreak havoc on the NFL schedule. There are still months to see how everything evolves.
Concessions will have to be made, by teams, players and fans too. There could still be a Lions game on Thanksgiving, but just don’t expect Ford Field to have its usual sold-out crowd.
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