The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, but that's something the Houston Texans probably aren't going to have to worry about when they travel to Arrowhead Stadium for the opening game of the NFL season next month. The Chiefs announced on Monday that the capacity at Arrowhead will be cut down to 22% to start the season, which means less than 20,000 fans will be allowed to attend the team's Thursday night opener on September 10.
The normal capacity at Arrowhead Stadium is 76,416, but for the NFL kickoff game, that number will be trimmed down to 16,812. The decision was made so that fans in attendance can follow social distancing guidelines and other health protocols that have been put in place due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Chiefs are one of multiple teams around that NFL that have announced their early season attendance policy. For the 2020 season, the NFL is allowing each team to dictate its own capacity this year with the expectation that the final number will be based on local health rules and protocols that are in place for the coronavirus pandemic. Although some teams -- like the Chiefs -- are welcoming fans, there are other teams (like the Saints, Falcons and Raiders), who will have zero fans in attendance for the first month of the season.
The Chiefs will keep that capacity for their first three home games and then re-evaluate after that. Tickets for those games, which will likely be almost impossible to get, will be going on sale Aug. 24. Besides the Texans, the Chiefs will also be playing the Patriots (Week 4) and Raiders (Week 5).
The fact that those three teams won't have to deal with a sell-out crowd is definitely an advantage and that's because Arrowhead is one of the loudest stadiums in the world. Back in 2014, Chiefs fans set the Guinness World Record for loudest fans at an outdoor open air stadium.
One thing that will be interesting to watch is whether or not a reduced capacity -- and therefore, reduced noise -- will have any effect on a team's home-field advantage. For instance, Kansas City has been one of the toughest places to play over the past two years with the Chiefs going 12-4 at home since the start of the 2018 season. However, if there are only 16,812 fans in attendance, it will be interesting to see if the Chiefs lose their home-field edge, which could potentially shake things up for bookies trying to make the odds in Vegas. As of Monday, the Chiefs were a 10-point favorite over the Texans.
For fans attending games, the biggest difference for them this year -- besides the small crowd sizes -- will be the fact that they have to wear a mask. The NFL has already announced that it's requiring all fans at every game to wear a mask this year.