2020, “The Year of Vision,” has instead been filled with blind-spots and lost hope for Philadelphia Eagles fans.
The world of sports has taken a massive hit due to COVID-19. Canceled games and new health guidelines have been significant contributors to the economic and social decline in sports betting.
Eagles Home Games: No Fans Allowed
This month, Philadelphia was set to transition into the Green Phase, however with COVID cases still on the rise, a modified plan was deemed.
On Tuesday, July 14th, the city announced that all public events over 50 people that require a permit are banned until the end of February 2021. Although NFL games are considered private events, the NFL has given local authorities the right to prohibit a crowd.
Unfortunately, for Philadelphia, that right was put into action. However, other teams across the NFL have announced plans to reduce their stadium capacity pending state and local approval.
Organizations such as the Patriots, Jaguars, and Ravens have already announced preliminary policies. Protocols would include the requirement of face masks, a six-feet distance between ticket holders, and blocks of seats with 10 people or less.
For Philadelphia, on the other hand, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley states, “There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there.”
Philadelphia Eagles Fans #1
Recently, Forbes ranked Eagles fans as the fifth-most passionate sports fanbase in the United States. While we’d like to think we’re Number One, it takes a particular group of individuals to form the Bird Gang.
Since 2016, when Doug Pederson became head coach, the Philadelphia Eagles have held the fourth-best home record in the NFL. Last season, the Linc hosted a total of 558,268 spectators — the largest record Philadelphia has seen.
From fans dawning the infamous [under] dog masks to the full unison of “Fly Eagles Fly,” nothing brings Philly closer together more than football season.
In an appearance last Wednesday, Eagles’ right tackle, Lane Johnson stated, “…but we thrive on fans’ energy and their presence, so hearing the news [yesterday] was definitely shocking.”
How The Season Will Look Without Fans
Since the decision was made to place a ban on home game crowds, season ticket holders were given a chance to opt-out of the 2020 season with the allowance of deferred payments.
The team is scheduled to report to training camp on July 28th and begin a two-game preseason on August 20th. Games against the Dolphins and Jets have been canceled.
It’s difficult to say whether policies will change in the upcoming months. City officials clarified their statements a day after the announcement was made. They claim that this is a “fluid situation” and is under consistent review.
While Philadelphia plans to keep fans updated, a significant improvement to the pandemic is required.
Social Distanced Cheering
In the interim, it’s time for Philly to get creative. With fans watching from home, a rise in social media may be inevitable. Many will likely take to the Internet to comment and cheer on the Birds. Philadelphians may similarly find it entertaining to partake in Zoom or FaceTime football parties.
Outdoor space can also be taken advantage of. Many bars and restaurants in the city can transform their properties into mini socially distanced “tailgates” with the game streamed on outdoor screens. “E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!” ringing throughout city blocks, would bring a whole new meaning to the term “Philly Pride.”
Rather than allowing COVID-19 and these new guidelines to ruin the upcoming football season, this is an excellent time to prove that we can all remain die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fans. Although there are still many questions that remain unanswered, not much time remains for decisions, and Eagles fans are eager for answers.
The Eagles are scheduled to play their first home game on September 20th against the Rams.