Are You Ready For Some?
By Kenneth Cooper
Well, I guess you’ll have to wait an extra few week to boo Drew Brees or kneel during the national anthem at a football game – if you’re into that type of thing. (Side note: I once sat down and ate nachos, but that might’ve had more to do with inebriation than social activism). Anyway, in case you didn’t know: the preseason has been cancelled, yep – gone, kaput. Disappointing. I know. Where else can you watch meaningless football while sipping on $11 beers and devouring $7 popcorn? A bar maybe? Nope. They’ve been cancelled too. Socially distanced football might help the Saints.
Breaking, shocking, absolutely stunning news: The Atlanta Falcons, chief rivals of the New Orleans Saints, have announced that due to the Coronavirus, they will only be entertaining 10,000 – 20,000 fans per game this season – you know, their usual amount.
Presidential pop quiz
Person, woman, man, camera, TV- write it down, take a picture, store it in your neurons somewhere.
With the league prepared to march on with minimal fans, a question arises: What’s the point of going to a socially distanced football game? Doesn’t that defeat the whole game day experience? Take a team like Baltimore. The Ravens will only let 14,000 fans in at games this season. But if 14,000 fans are spread out over a 68,000 seat outdoor stadium, there probably won’t be much atmosphere. There will also probably be no point in screaming when your team is on defense because you won’t be affecting the snap count. You’d basically be showing up to sip on $11 beers and devour $7 popcorn. Domed stadiums might end up being even more restricted.
The NFL should just start working on huddle cameras, player cameras, coach cameras, ref cameras, live mics, something to upgrade the game for TVs since at home is where most fans will be stuck watching. Socially distanced football can be entertaining.
Ironically, the subdued atmosphere should benefit the Saints on the road. Because unlike Black Lives, crowd noise definitely seems to matter to Drew Brees. People can point to the overall winning record on the road, but the offense is not the same in a hostile environment against top defenses. Interceptions, sacks, and stalled drives tend to ensue. Paradoxically, future HOF’er Drew Brees might be even better because Black Lives Matter.
But the Saints defense is different. If you think the subdued atmosphere might impact the Saints’ defense in the Dome just think back to how pointless it felt screaming your lungs out two years ago. The Rams drove right down the field and tied the NFC Championship game as time expired . Or the playoffs last year, when the Vikings drove down the field and ended the Saints’ season in overtime. And unlike the offense, the defense tends to play at the same level whether it is in the Dome or on the road.
- Why will socially distanced fans be required to wear masks at the games but non-socially distanced players on the field won’t, not even in the huddle? Strange contradiction there. If it’s because a mask is a health concern, then isn’t catching and possibly spreading the Coronavirus one also?
- Why isn’t selling a beer or a bag of popcorn at almost 10 times its market value not considered price gouging?
- What are the Saints waiting for to announce their plans for game day attendance? Season ticket holders have already been given the option of a refund or a rollover, but no word on how many will actually be allowed in the Dome. Even the Falcons are being proactive.
Training camp officially starts Friday. Themes going in: Will this really be Drew Brees’ last season? Will Marcus Davenport finally play up to all those draft picks the Saints gave up to get him? Will Alvin Kamara have a bounce back year? Stay tuned. With these plot lines and the potential for the Coronavirus bringing the whole house down, this year’s camp can be summed up in one word: interesting.
Speaking of words – remember that pop quiz? There’s one more thing: Person, woman, man, camera….
Come on, let’s hear it. If you can finish the list without scrolling up, consider yourself a super genius, just like our president.