Roger Goodell doubles down on lack of competitive advantage for teams that have fans in stands

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During a Tuesday conference call with reporters, Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he and the Competition Committee have agreed that there’s no competitive advantage if some teams have fans in the stands and others don’t, due to the varying rules of the pandemic. During a Wednesday appearance on CNBC, Goodell doubled down — and he expanded greatly the scope of the entities who believe there’s no competitive edge.

“I would probably take issue with the fact that it’s a huge competitive advantage,” Goodell said in response to a question that acknowledged in its framing the obvious existence of a dramatic edge for teams with fans. “As you know, our stadium sizes are different across the league. The attendance is different on a normal season. We do not see and our clubs do not see a competitive advantage at all whether fans are in one stadium or another.”

Some of the clubs see a competitive advantage, however. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has said so. Bills coach Sean McDermott has as well. Raiders owner Mark Davis likewise has said that if one team can have no fans, no teams should have fans.

Although the public discourse in America now routinely feature assertions that simply aren’t objectively credible, in most cases there’s a tactical reason for making that claim, a base to which the statements cater. Here, who’s the base? Where’s the percentage of fans insisting no matter what that there’s no competitive advantage?

Maybe the base in this case consists of one — Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, the only owner who has claimed that there’s no competitive advantage . . . as he prepares to host up to 50-percent capacity in his cavernous stadium for Cowboys home games.

Regardless, few will co-sign the concept that there’s no competitive advantage to teams that have fans present and those that don’t. And for good reason; of course there’s a competitive advantage.

32 responses to “Roger Goodell doubles down on lack of competitive advantage for teams that have fans in stands

  1. So, in essence, he’s saying fans don’t matter, attendance doesn’t matter. I guess we should all stop buying tickets and just wait for the NFL to go bankrupt. You know, since cheering has no effect for the home team.

  2. Some teams will be helped, others probably hurt. The two years that the Chargers have played in LA, they have had to play in front of a hostile crowd every game, so if they play in front of an empty stadium at home, it will be better for them than what they have put up with over the past couple of seasons.

  3. Roger also said he was going to allow protest too. Roger has set the league down the wrong path. The owners will fire him in the next year or 2.

  4. No one’s saying it’s a HUGE advantage; but in a league where parity is emphasized and anybody can beat anybody on a particular week, any advantage, no matter how small, can help. Goodell is just saying what the owners want him to say, ludicrous as it may be.

  5. Or maybe he does not want to admit that their actions could cause a lot of money to change hands via legalized sports gambling. Being able to switch on/off home field advantage could be worth quite a bit of money to the right people.

  6. Well according to the CDC’s latest info released sounds like they should have fans in all the stadiums.

  7. Of course it is an advantage — just ask the oddsmakers. But Goodell is a coward and he would rather upset the competitive balance than upset Jerry Jones.

  8. I can’t believe the owners pay this stooge 44 million a year to run this league into the ground. When do they say enough is enough?

  9. Of course it is an advantage — just ask the oddsmakers. But Goodell is a coward and he would rather upset the competitive balance than upset Jerry Jones.
    Coward? Just a good employee. The owners hire and pay him.

  10. Here is my question, Rog. For the stadiums with fans – do they get to pump up the decibel level in addition to what their crowds generate?

  11. I’d respect Goodell a lot more if he said, “Fair? Unfair? Who knows? The situation is what it is and we’re just here to make money.”

  12. It’sa pretty disingenuous take that also diminishes the fans. Not looking like a good tact.

  13. There is no competitive advantage. The home teams without fans can pipe in sound anyway. This doesn’t do anything to diminish the fans. Unless you’re going to say San Francisco had the best fans when they had Joe Montana. Pittsburgh had the best fans when they had Bradshaw. Cowboys when they had Aikman. Denver when they had Elway. Patriots while they had Brady. And now K.C. has the best fans because they drafted Mahomes. Really people?

  14. 20000 fans spread out in 80000 seat stadiums are not going to be affecting players ability to hear each other. They just aren’t. It’s going to look like a crappy college game as far as attendance goes.

  15. Is the NFL going to allow the NFL teams without fans to be able to pump in “noise” during the game to make things square? Then the question becomes will Jerry complain he is only able to have the fan noise of less than 50% capacity but the Eagles might be able to pump in the noise level of 110% capacity?

  16. shoehawks says: “Rodger has never seen a game in Seattle or Kansas City.”

    Well, I guess your statement would be accurate if you don’t count the 2016 playoff games in Seattle and the week after at Kansas City that he attended, or the Patriots/Chiefs 2018 AFC Championship at Arrowhead…

  17. Look at the data—there is minimal home advantage in a normal season. I can’t believe half-full stadiums will change the outcome in any meaningful way. The NFL can’t have a universal policy on attendance because the pandemic laws are so different in every state. The lawsuits alone would be a bigger distraction to the integrity of the game than fans in the seats.

  18. He’s right and this has been studied. The competitive advantage that comes with home-field isn’t due to the fans.

    Look at the NBA in Orlando.

    The competitive advantage you need to be concerned about is the lack of a state income tax for players in Tennessee, Florida, Texas, LV and Washington. Those cap dollars go further.

  19. In a normal year, the Giants should have the best home field advantage because they have the capacity for over 80000 fans at each game. Same with the Football Team and the Cowboys. Whereas Seattle is at a disadvantage because they only have the capacity to hold 68000 fans.

  20. Strange hill to die on. Why not just say that things aren’t optimal but they’re doing the best they can during imperfect times? If he was smart he’d be playing up the fact they’re going to be playing at all as a huge accomplishment.

  21. If your players ‘need’ fans in the stands cheering to play well, you may have bigger issues with your team.

    I can see that noise when your team is on defense can make a little difference, but I feel that may be a bit overblown these days, as teams have long been used to it. And, allow a team with no (or limited) fans to pump in extra noise and that could solve that issue.

    Now, the financial advantage to some teams having fans and others not having them is likely the true difference that owners are concerned about.

  22. 30-50% full stadiums won’t be a competitive advantage. I just can’t see the crowd noise from a half -full stadium being an issue.

    The real issue is lack of leadership from the league office. They should make a directive and keep it consistent across the leagues. That’s the real problem generating churn.

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