With the continued battle against COVID-19 (coronavirus), the NFL remains unsure of how the regular season will look in 2020. The league continues to plan for a timely start following the potential opening of training camp, but there are many hurdles to leap before those hopes can become reality. And should professional football get underway this season, the added dilemma surrounding the presence or absence of fans remains a key topic of discussion. For while several states have begun reopening, slowly and with great caution, there are still mandates in place that prohibit large gatherings of people.
Should that still be the case when September rolls around, it'll mean mostly empty to completely empty stadiums around the league, but DeSean Jackson has an idea that could ensure folks watching from home are still as entertained as they ever would be. There have been rumors teams would consider piping in fake crowd noise, but the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver floated a much more intriguing idea on teammate Lane Johnson's 'Outside the Lane' YouTube series, wondering if the NFL would be open to attaching a microphone to every player on the field.
"It's going to get crazy [without fans]," Jackson said. "I think they should [mic up players]. I think they should give fans insight to see what really goes on in between the white lines. It gets crazy.
"I know in the trenches it gets crazy, and I know on the outside it gets crazy too -- the conversations we have going back and forth."
Several players have already weighed in publicly on the subject, but not all of them on the same page. Kirk Cousins recently drew the ire of NFL fans -- -- when he stated an empty stadium Others like Melvin Gordon used the potential problem as a device to take a jab at his former team, the Los Angeles Chargers, noting how he's because the team didn't have any who'd show up to games anyway.
The reality is you'd be hard-pressed find players who want an empty home stadium, or an owner who's looking forward to the possibility. For the latter, the massive loss of revenue not only impacts them directly, but it also fractures the local economy as a whole -- including independent vendors who operate within the stadium.
For the former, the impact is much less complicated, but hyper-emotional.
"My feeling about playing in an empty stadium -- I definitely can't recall playing [in one]. I've never played in an empty stadium, honestly," Jackson said. "Even in Pop Warner, I used to look in the stands and have fans, so it's going to be a culture shock. ... I think, at the end of the day, we're all professionals and we'll all adapt to [having no fans present]. It'll definitely be weird at first, but hopefully they can figure out an [alternative] to that.
"I think a lot of teams and players feed off the energy."
It's doubtful the NFL expands it's Mic'd Up program to the extent where each team would be comfortable risking the exposure of proprietary information, and some players would probably prefer not having their battle cries placed on full display, when considering they're seldom Rated G for general audiences.
Jackson's idea is one fans would cling to though, even if it never gets past the gate keeper.