As COVID-19 encroaches closer and closer to the start of the NFL season, the league is looking at different scenarios in which the season can be played while keeping fans safe, many of which involves keeping fans at home, not packing stadiums with them. DeSean Jackson seems to have an idea how to up the entertainment value to those watching on TV.
There have been rumors teams would consider piping in fake crowd noise, but Philadpehia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson floated a much more intriguing idea on teammate Lane Johnson’s ‘Outside the Lane’ YouTube series, wondering if the NFLwould be open to attaching a microphone to every player on the field.
“It’s going to get crazy [without fans],” Jackson said. “I think they should [mic up players]. I think they should give fans insight to see what really goes on in between the white lines. It gets crazy.
“I know in the trenches it gets crazy, and I know on the outside it gets crazy too — the conversations we have going back and forth.”
Several players have already weighed in publicly on the subject, but not all of them on the same page. Kirk Cousins recently drew the ire of NFL fans — later walking back his comments — when he stated an empty stadium would be “refreshing” and a “breath of fresh air.” Others like Melvin Gordon used the potential problem as a device to take a jab at his former team, the Los Angeles Chargers, noting how he’s accustomed to playing with no fans present because the team didn’t have any who’d show up to games anyway.
The reality is you’d be hard-pressed find players who want an empty home stadium, or an owner who’s looking forward to the possibility. For the latter, the massive loss of revenue not only impacts them directly, but it also fractures the local economy as a whole — including independent vendors who operate within the stadium.
For the former, the impact is much less complicated, but hyper-emotional.
“My feeling about playing in an empty stadium — I definitely can’t recall playing [in one]. I’ve never played in an empty stadium, honestly,” Jackson said. “Even in Pop Warner, I used to look in the stands and have fans, so it’s going to be a culture shock. … I think, at the end of the day, we’re all professionals and we’ll all adapt to [having no fans present]. It’ll definitely be weird at first, but hopefully they can figure out an [alternative] to that.
“I think a lot of teams and players feed off the energy.”
It’s doubtful the NFL expands it’s Mic’d Up program to the extent where each team would be comfortable risking the exposure of proprietary information, and some players would probably prefer not having their battle cries placed on full display, when considering they’re seldom Rated G for general audiences.
Jackson’s idea is one fans would cling to though, even if it never gets past the gate keeper.