Sean Payton jokes about quarantining 50,000 fans for homefield advantage in the playoffs

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John Sigler
·1 min read
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The Mercedes-Benz Superdome won’t have its usual festive atmosphere in Sunday’s Wild-Card Round matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears, with the Athletic’s Jeff Duncan reporting that about 3,700 spectators will be in attendance between Saints fans and friends and family members of the team. The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing restrictions have taken some of the luster from pro sports everywhere this year, but the Saints are still trying to make the best of it.

That hasn’t kept the gears from spinning in Sean Payton’s head. The Saints coach half-jokingly floated the idea of testing and quarantining 50,000 volunteers to create a homefield advantage for the playoffs.

“I brought up the idea of testing 50,000 people and quarantining them in a hotel and having the most safest Superdome known to man, scientifically,” Payton told Nola.com’s Luke Johnson during his Wednesday media conference call. He continued, cheerily: “Bus them, they’ve tested every day, and you’ve got a COVID-free facility.”

Inspiring as the idea is, the logistics and costs probably aren’t going to work out. And Payton knows that. It’ll fall to him and his coaching staff to keep the energy level high in practice and into Sunday’s kickoff. Let’s see what he has in store.