When the NFL season kicks off this fall, the league is expecting to have stadiums full of fans, according to a recent report by NBC Sports Washington. The Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent, sat down for an interview on The Brian Mitchell Show and explained how the league is planning for the 2020 season.
"We are planning to have full stadiums until the medical community tells us otherwise," Vincent said.
He added they were talking about August and September. In other words, there are still several months to go before a final decision has to be made on how to carry out games for the season. He then reiterated that right now, the NFL was planning on full stadiums.
Vincent made it clear the planning wasn't short-sighted. The league was also planning for half-full stadiums and three-quarter-full stadiums.
"First and foremost, we're making every effort, working with the medical community, if we can have those stadiums with all people until they tell us otherwise when that time comes, that's our plan. That's our plan of action."While Vincent talked about full stadiums, his interview was just hours after the Pittsburgh Steelers' front office announced it was only selling 50 percent of the total available tickets for the 2020 season. The team said it was selling half its tickets as a way to prepare for social distancing during games.
In addition, earlier this month, the Miami Dolphins unveiled plans to redesign their home field, Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins changed the way entrances and exits work in order to encourage social distancing. They too said they were looking at plans to sell fewer tickets specifically to avoid full stadiums.
Vincent's comments were in line with others made by the NFL since the coronavirus outbreak started ravaging the country. There were initial discussions about delaying or canceling the NFL draft, but the league eventually managed to pull it off by doing it all online. There were also rumblings the league would delay a release of the 2020 schedule until there was more certainty the season would happen at all.
There was also talk about a shorter schedule and starting later in the year. Eventually the NFL decided to release the full, unaltered schedule for the coming season. The league, like Vincent discussed in his interview on Friday, added that changes could still be made if the situation called for it.
Vincent was also asked if the league was making preparations for things like special masks the players could wear with their helmets. The executive said the league was looking into that as well, but didn't give any additional details.