Which NFL teams have announced plans for fans in stands this season? A team-by-team look

Frank Schwab
·8 min read

Assuming cardboard cutouts and giant video boards don’t count, there haven’t been fans in the stands for major American sports since March.

The NFL never had a chance to have full stadiums in 2020, as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic eliminates the possibility of large groups at games. Players have had opinions on how having no fans or limited attendance would affect games this season. The financial impact of banning fans will be massive around the league.

Could there be a Super Bowl without fans this season? (Karl Mondon/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)
Could there be a Super Bowl without fans this season? (Karl Mondon/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)

Here’s a running list of which NFL teams have announced their plans for fans during the 2020 season:

Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals announced that the first two home games of the 2020 season will happen without fans in attendance.

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons said that in keeping with state and local requirements, capacity at home games would be 10,000-20,000 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium when fans are allowed. Fans are currently prohibited from attending any home games through September and will make a decision later about games in October, November and December.

Baltimore Ravens: The team said on Aug. 24 that games will be without fans “for at least the initial part of the 2020 season.” They cited the safety for the well-being of fans, players, coaches and staff.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills announced that no fans would allowed for at least the first two games of the season. The team said it was deferring all season-ticket memberships for the 2020 season to 2021.

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers said there will be no fans in attendance for the home opener. The team said it “offered compromises and alternatives” for limited attendance and “will continue reaching out to government officials regarding options for future games.”

Chicago Bears: The Bears said they will start the season without fans in the stands, despite efforts to formulate a safe plan. The team left open the possibility of fans being allowed into games when it is “deemed safe and appropriate.”

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals said there will not be fans at the season opener on Sept. 13, and the team would be contacting season-ticket holders about plans for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The Bengals will host up to 6,000 fans at their Oct. 4 (vs. Jaguars) and Oct. 25 (vs. Browns) home games.

Cleveland Browns: The state of Ohio issued a “spectator variance” for the Bengals and Browns, allowing up to 6,000 fans at two home games apiece. The Browns will host fans on Sept. 17 (vs. Bengals) and Sept. 27 (vs. Washington), according to Gov. Mike DeWine.

Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on Aug. 12 he plans to have fans for home games, using a “pod” system for seating inside AT&T Stadium.

Denver Broncos: The Broncos announced there will be no fans in attendance for the home opener. However, just before the season started the team announced it will have allow in 5,700 fans, approximately 7.5 percent of stadium capacity, for the second home game of the year on Sept. 27. The team said it will work with state and public health experts to re-evaluate if it can increase attendance as the season goes on.

Detroit Lions: The Lions won’t have fans at their first two games. Their third home game won’t be until Nov. 1. “Whether fans can attend that or any other 2020 season games will continue to be evaluated while working diligently with healthcare officials at every level, as well as Governor [Gretchen] Whitmer's office,” the team said.

Green Bay Packers: The oddest sight of an empty stadium early this season could be in Green Bay. Attending games at Lambeau Field is like a religion, but there will be no fans for at least the first two home games. The team resisted making any announcement beyond the first two games.

Houston Texans: In an FAQ on the team site, the Texans said due to social distancing guidelines the capacity at NRG Stadium will be approximately 14,000 seats throughout all levels and “as a league-wide requirement, all fans attending games must wear a protective face mask throughout the entirety of gameday except for when they are actively eating or drinking.”

However, the team did announce that there will be no fans in attendance for the home opener and whether fans can return will depend on the number of cases in the Houston area.

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts said they were planning on no more than approximately 25 percent capacity at Lucas Oil Stadium. The team is offering two half-season plans of four games each for fans looking to buy tickets.

On Sept. 4, the team announced it would have 2,500 fans for its home opener.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars said they plan on 25 percent capacity at home games in accordance with state and local authorities. In addition, the Jaguars said after the season begins “any future increase in capacity will depend on developments on the health and safety front.”

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs said that attendance will be capped at approximately 22 percent capacity. All fans attending games will be required to wear masks and the team added that “while fans are asked to bring their own mask to use upon entering the complex, the Chiefs will provide a commemorative mask to all fans who attend the first three games.”

Las Vegas Raiders: The Raiders were one of the first teams to announce there would be no fans for their home games this season, and it had to hurt. The Raiders are in their first season in Las Vegas, moving into a plush new Allegiant Stadium, and no fans will be there to celebrate their inaugural season with them.

Los Angeles Chargers: In a joint statement, the Chargers and Rams announced fans would not be allowed to attend games at SoFi Stadium “until further notice.”

Los Angeles Rams: The Rams and Chargers will not allow fans to attend games at SoFi Stadium “until further notice.” The Rams are offering Rams the opportunity to buy cardboard cutouts to “attend” the team’s home opener.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins announced they will have a maximum of 13,000 fans for the home opener. All fans will be required to wear masks, will have a staggered entry to the stadium with the entry time on the game ticket and be released from the stadium by row when the game is done.

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings announced there will be no fans for their first two home games on September 13 and September 27. In the announcement the team said it will “continue to work with the appropriate officials on our plans with the hope of bringing fans back in a safe manner later this season.”

New England Patriots: The Patriots said in mid-July they’re expecting to have 20 percent capacity at Gillette Stadium, though “state and local approvals will be required before any fans are permitted inside the building.”

New Orleans Saints: The Saints announced their home opener at the Superdome will be played without fans in attendance. That game is a key divisional matchup against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

New York Giants and New York Jets: Due to Gov. Phil Murphy’s order in July, the Giants and Jets announced that there would be no fans at MetLife Stadium until further notice.

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles announced that due to Pennsylvania and Philadelphia regulations, fans “will not be permitted until further notice” at Lincoln Financial Field.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The team told season-ticket holders that no fans will be allowed at Heinz Field for at least the first two home games of the season, according to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala.

San Francisco 49ers: There will no fans in attendance at the 49ers’ first game at Levi’s Stadium on Sept. 13. The team said it would work with local officials in an effort to host fans later in the season.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks, who have one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL, made the “difficult decision” to rule out having fans for at least the team’s first three home games. The first possible game that might host fans is Nov. 1 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers won’t have fans for their first two home games as they kick off the Tom Brady era. The team’s story on said it hopes “current COVID-19 pandemic trends” allow the team to allow in fans for the third home game on Oct. 18.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans will not have fans in attendance for the home opener, but said it will continue to work on the “Safe Stadium Plan” in “preparation and collaboration with local authorities in the hope that fans are allowed to attend games soon.”

Washington Football Team: Start all the jokes about how Washington might not notice an empty stadium due to many fans abandoning the struggling franchise the past couple years. The team said there will be no fans at FedEx Field in Maryland.

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