Eagles Players Describe What NFL Game Without Fans Might Sound Like

DeSean Jackson

Getty Eagles WR DeSean Jackson has been out since Week 2 after going for 156 yards and two TDs in the season opener.

The possibility of the NFL playing games without fans in the stands is on the table. Get ready for a ton of trash talk.

Many players have been commenting on what that might sound like, from an on-the-field perspective. Obviously a team’s home-field advantage would be out the window but there are other interesting things fans might hear and see. Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson recently suggested putting a mic on players versus pumping in artificial crowd noise.

“It’s going to get crazy,” Jackson said on Lane Johnson’s “Outside the Lane” YouTube show. “They should give the fans the inside to really see what goes on between the white lines. It gets crazy, bro. I know in the trenches it gets crazy, and I know out there on the outside it gets crazy too with the conversations we going back and forth on.”

It’s the same sentiment shared by teammate Brandon Graham last week on a video conference call with reporters. The defensive end laughed as he talked about fans hearing “a lot of riff-raff.”

“It’s going to be a lot of riff-raff and a lot of stuff on the sidelines that you don’t normally hear,” Graham said. “It’s just going to be like a scrimmage where you’re practicing against these boys during the week. That’s what it’s going to sound like that. A lot of trash talking when you score touchdowns and get big hits.”

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NFL Plans to Lose $5.5 Billion with No Fans

There hasn’t been a formal announcement whether the 2020 NFL season will be played without fans. Not yet. But it’s a strong possibility as the novel coronavirus continues to disrupt sports across the country. New Jersey recently upped large gatherings to 25 people but NFL stadiums hold up to 70,000 screaming fans every week.

According to Mike Ozanian of Forbes, the NFL could lose $5.5 billion of stadium revenue with no people in attendance. He based that estimation on the sum of tickets, concessions, sponsors, parking and team stores. Here is what Forbes wrote (via Yahoo! Sports):

The NFL would lose $5.5 billion of stadium revenue (the sum of tickets, concessions, sponsors, parking and team stores) — or 38% of its total revenue — based on figures for the 2018 season (ranking below). But the impact on the individual teams would vary greatly. For example, the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots would lose over half their total revenue while the Buffalo Bills, the Tennessee Titans and the Cincinnati Bengals would lose less than one-third.

Vikings QB Thinks No Fans Could Be ‘Refreshing’

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins commented that he thought no fans in stadiums could be “kind of refreshing.” His main point was that sometimes all the cheering (and sometimes booing) can be a distraction to players.

“Honestly, we practice every day in an empty grass area and pump in fake crowd noise for away games,” Cousins said, via Pro Football Talk. “But more often than not, you’re used to it. OTA practices don’t have a lot of pomp and circumstance to them.”

Cousins, of course, has been a lightning rod for criticism after signing a $96 million contract and not completely living up to the hype. He did win his first career playoff game last year after leading the Vikings to a surprising wild-card win over the Saints. He’s currently the highest-paid player in the NFL, per Forbes.

“So honestly to go out and just play the game would kind of be refreshing, a breath of fresh air, to just let us know that we don’t have to have all the smoke and the fire, we can just play football,” Cousins continued. “So as long as we’re playing the game, I won’t have a lot of complaints, and hopefully if it’s still not returned to normal, we can find a way to make it work.”

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