There’s no doubt about it: COVID-19 has changed life in every single way we’ve ever known. So far, the sport of football has been one of the least affected by the virus when it comes to actual play, and the NFL is trying to keep it that way. Free agency went on as planned, the 2020 NFL Draft was 100 percent virtual, and the league even released their regular season schedule last week. While no one knows what will happen in the near future concerning the virus, teams have to plan to play football and host fans in the safest ways accordingly.
During a segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Victor Oquendo reported that the Miami Dolphins were making game-day changes that would incorporate social distancing. Entrances would have social-distancing guidelines, fans would be spread out and there would even be a detailed exit strategy.
“We would have times to come in for security at different dates so people would be separated out in terms of when they enter the stadium,” Chief Executive Officer Tom Garfinkel said. “We would exit the stadium much like a church environment or something where each row exits so people aren’t filling out all at the same time in a herd.”
Oquendo also reported that while Hard Rock Stadium can hold up to 65,000 fans, they could be down to 15,000 fans for the 2020 season if the pandemic continues. While it’s impossible to predict what the next few months will look like, the NFL is remaining hopeful. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institutes for Health since 1984, has been at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic and said there are many variables when it comes to football and the virus.
During an interview with NBC Sports, Fauci pointed out how complex the situation really is. Fauci said there’d be no way to carry out an NFL season right now, but that if the situation improves by September, there could be football.
“I say you can’t have a season—it’s impossible,” said Fauci. “There’s too much infection out there. It doesn’t matter what you do. But I would hope that by the time you get to September it’s not gonna be the way it is right now.”
Unlike virtually every other sport, the NFL has refused to change up their schedule due to the coronavirus and has made adjustments that are both safe and innovative. You have to tip your cap to the Dolphins, as they are doing everything they can to keep live sports a reality.
Miami hosted Super Bowl LIV back in February of this year, so it’s no surprise that they are one of the first stadiums/organizations to have a contingency plan in place.