When the 2020 NFL season kicks off in September, the sideline at each game is going to be noticeably emptier, and that's because the league is going to be limiting the amount of people who will have field access this year in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In a memo that was sent out Tuesday, the league has let all 32 teams know that on-field entertainment -- like cheerleaders, mascots and flag runners -- won't be permitted this season. The memo was obtained by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
The decision by the NFL means that Sir Purr, Steely McBeam, Jaxson De Ville and the other league mascots are going to have to find somewhere else to hang this season, and as you can imagine, the mascots are heartbroken.
Of course, mascots aren't the only ones getting the boot from the sideline.
The league is also banning television and radio sideline reporters from the field along with reporters who do live shots during pregame. One other thing you won't see on the field is fans and guests. Prior to the 2020 season, teams would generally allow some fans on the field so they could get a close-up look at players. The sideline ban also applies to non-essential team and league staff who might be at the game.
At this point, you might be wondering who's NOT banned from the sideline. Besides the obvious groups -- like players and officials -- each television network will be able to have essential employees at field level. Each broadcast network will be allowed to have up to 46 employees on the field for each game. Up to six employees from NFL Films will also be given field access.
Each team will also be able to designate a total of two employees who will be allowed on to the field for club media purposes like Twitter and Instagram. NFL owners will also be allowed down to field level while their team is playing.
The big reason the NFL is banning people from the sideline is so that the league can limit player exposure to the virus. The NFL had already announced that the first six to eight rows at each stadium will be covered by a tarp this year, which is one of the many protocols that the league has implemented to stop the spread of the virus.