The NFL season is quickly approaching and multiple teams are now making difficult decisions about fan attendance. Some are planning for games without any people in the stands, but the Dallas Cowboys are taking a different approach. America's Team is currently planning for fan attendance when Dak Prescott leads the offense onto the field.
Team owner Jerry Jones laid out this plan while meeting with reporters on Wednesday. He explained that there isn't a specific amount of fans in mind at this point in the offseason, but he discussed having "pods of people" spread throughout the stadium. The state of Texas currently allows for up to 50% capacity at sports events. Jones also explained that the team will adhere to local and state guidelines regarding attendance.
"The Dallas Cowboys plan on playing all of our football games and we plan on playing them in front of our fans," Jones said. He explained to reporters that the sheer size of AT&T Stadium and the number of luxury suites provide more opportunities to have fans cheer on the home team. He also said that the fans will be at the stadium "of their own volition."
This news follows the Washington Football Team announcing that the entire season will move ahead without fans at FedEx Field. The Cowboys' rivals made the announcement while citing the health and safety of the fans and team employees as the reason for this decision. The organization also teased "new and innovative" ways to incorporate fans throughout the season.
"We are fortunate to host the best fans in the NFL year after year, but the well-being of those supporters, along with that of our players, coaches and each and every member of our gameday staff is simply too important, and the current knowledge of COVID-19 too unpredictable, to welcome our fan base to FedExField to start the season," said Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder. "This decision was not an easy one, but after several discussions with federal, state and local officials — along with input from some of the nation's foremost medical experts, based right here in the nation's capital — we are confident that it is the right one. We are working to find ways to make our fans' presence felt in new and innovative ways for 2020 and can't wait to welcome the community through the gates as soon as it's safe."
Along with the Washington Football Team, the Las Vegas Raiders also confirmed that no fans will attend games in 2020. The team is opening Allegiant Stadium in Sin City after leaving Oakland, but the massive, black stadium will be empty. The Raiders said in a statement that nothing is more important to the organization than the health and safety of the coaches, players, staff, stadium workers and fans.