If you're hoping to watch a Dallas Cowboys game in-person this coming season, you'll get your chance, albeit a limited one. The team is currently forced to shave the capacity at AT&T Stadium from its normal operating standard to a maximum of 50 percent, as currently required by Texas governor Greg Abbott during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and they've already taken the dramatic step of canceling season tickets for 2020. But while some teams are waving off having fans in attendance whatsoever, owner Jerry Jones made it clear the Cowboys will do no such thing.
"The Dallas Cowboys plan on playing football, and we plan on playing in front of our fans," he told media in the club's first training camp press conference. "I think it's important. I think it's important individually. I think it's important for the country.
"The NFL can be an inspirational part of how we address COVID, not only this year but how we go into 2021."
The team provided additional info shortly after Jones' proclamation, including the requirement every fan wear a face covering at all times once on AT&T Stadium property in 2020. There will also be mobile-only ticketing, 100 percent cashless transactions and the Cowboys will also permit tailgating, but with a mandate each car is at least one space apart and fans won't be allowed "to comingle" in the pre-selected tailgating areas.
The question then becomes how many will be allowed into AT&T Stadium, an arena that routinely houses more than 100,000 fans on any given game day.
"I don't have an expectation," said Jones. "We're dealing with a moving target. I won't speculate on the number."
The Hall of Fame owner will lean heavily on what he views as a "unique" ability of the stadium to help facilitate social distancing, pointing at its very layout as it pertains to fan entrances to support his point -- specifically how those entering from one side don't have to have any contact with ones filing in from another. He also floated the idea of a "pod" formula, wherein groups of no more than 15 individuals in a "trusted group" (i.e., friends and family only) could be seated in various areas, as a creative way of allowing fans to attend while still adhering to the very stringent NFL policies regarding COVID-19.
"We'll adhere to all protocols," Jones said. "We will adapt them to the uniqueness of our stadium."
He was not shy when it came to the angle of liability though, seeing as anyone who walks through those doors are inherently choosing to risk contracting the novel coronavirus. Jones is confident all fans permitted to attend will do the right thing, however, which involves sticking to protocol that prevent the spread of the disease.
"The people that will be there will be there of their own volition," Jones said. "… Our fans will be in the stadium because they've chosen to be there. As we ourselves have. … I'm confident we have a very educated situation [regarding how to prevent the spread of COVID-19], and that our fans can come and have a great experience."