Unlike other leagues, the NFL did not create a league-wide policy regarding fan attendance this season. With the coronavirus pandemic still a major issue in the United States and beyond, most major sports leagues have decided that no fans are allowed at stadiums.
But the NFL is taking a different approach, and not everyone is happy about this decision. Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott commented on the fan situation while on a Zoom call on Monday, and said he does not agree with how the league has handled the situation.
Here's what he said, via NFL:
"We control what we can control. I think it's honestly ridiculous that there will be ... what appears to be a playing field that is like that. Inconsistently across the league with the different away stadiums. We control what we can control. That's gotta be our mindset and that's how we attack it."
Some NFL teams have already announced that no fans will be permitted at games for the entire season, while others are having fans stay away for at least a month. There are, however, team that plan to have fans in seats from the start of the regular season. This raises the question first and foremost of safety, but also home field advantage, which is what McDermott alluded to when he said the Bills will "control what we can control."
The league is reportedly considering pumping in noise for games without fans, but players and fans know that's not the same.
McDermott's aired out his frustrations shortly after the Miami Dolphins announced they will welcome around 20% capacity, which is up to 13,000 fans. The Bills face the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Week 2.
In many cities and states, having fans at NFL games is not even an option that teams can debate or decide on, as some governors have not given the approval for large gatherings in their respective states. New York is one of those states not permitted to have large gatherings due to the health and safety risks regarding COVID-19.
Over the weekend, the NFL had a COVID-19 scare as 77 tests came back positive, but they turned out to be false-positive tests.