Roger Goodell announced this week that all the NFL higher-ups are in agreement that allowing fans in the stands for some teams, and not others, does not create a competitive imbalance. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote on Wednesday that the commissioner pointed to the fact that stadiums around the league already have different capacities.
Goodell made a Wednesday appearance on CNBC and answered a question about the problems that could surface because some teams are allowing people to watch the game in person and some franchises aren’t.
“I would probably take issue with the fact that it’s a huge competitive advantage. As you know, our stadium sizes are different across the league. The attendance is different on a normal season. We do not see and our clubs do not see a competitive advantage at all whether fans are in one stadium or another.”
Florio said that while Goodell claimed he was speaking for every club in the league, there are some owners who have made it clear they feel as though the situation isn’t fair.
Chief among critics of Goodell’s plan to allow franchises to determine whether they will allow fans in the stands is the Las Vegas Raiders owner, Mark Davis. Earlier in the summer, he went on the record saying that if one stadium won’t have anyone in attendance, no stadiums should.
Head coaches around the NFL have also voiced their displeasure with Goodell allowing there to be an uneven policy. The Buffalo Bills’ Sean McDermott and Vikings’ Mike Zimmer have both reportedly said they see an advantage for clubs that will allow people to come to their games.
Florio also said he was confused as to why Goodell would make the argument he did. The analyst said it’s rather obvious that some franchises managing to make some extra money from gate receipts is absolutely a plus for those organizations.
The writer believes Goodell’s comments are aimed at an audience of one. He said the commissioner is likely talking directly to the Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones.
Jones is the only owner in the NFL who has come forward and unequivocally said there isn’t any kind of imbalance. Along those lines, the Cowboys have said they expect to have at least 50 percent attendance this season, despite the coronavirus pandemic still prevalent.
The analyst said he believes Goodell is trying to give Jones some cover for his comments, even while teams like the Green Bay Packers have said they won’t allow anyone in their stadiums for the first few weeks of the 2020 season at least.