NFL games are happening this fall. However, the season will have a different look as there will be no cheerleaders or mascots on the field. According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, cheerleaders and mascots will not be allowed on the field based on the NFL-NFLPA protocols sent to all 32 teams. Pelissero also mentioned network sideline reporters and pregame TV reporters will not be allowed on the field as well. This is all in part to keep everyone safe and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
NFL fans weighed in on the news. One person wrote on Twitter: "I may be the only person who doesn't care. I genuinely forget the NFL even has cheerleaders, and my team has no mascot." Other fans don't understand why mascots won't be allowed on the field considering they are protected with a costume. One Twitter used stated: "Mascots? You mean the people who are usually encapsulated in a heavy suit with a huge head atop their body who can't breathe on people. Those mascots. Officially this makes no sense."
Some teams don't have to worry about this as six franchises don't have cheerleaders: Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, who use a collegiate squad to cheer at home games. This is not good news for Dallas Cowboys fans as their cheerleaders are very popular. In fact, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have a reality show, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team, that has been running since 2006.
It's not a big surprise that cheerleaders and mascots won't be allowed on the field since the majority of teams won't have fans in attendance to start off the year. One of the few teams that will have fans this season is the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs who are looking to have up to 16,000 fans for their home opener against the Houston Texans on September 10.
"As the season progresses, the club will follow the guidance of local officials and public health experts, with the potential that local regulations will allow for different capacities at different points during the season," the Chiefs said. "Future on-sale dates and details will be communicated once confirmed throughout the season." The Chiefs-Texans game will be the first matchup of the 2020 NFL season.