Art Rooney II optimistic about a full stadium in Pittsburgh

Wild Card Round - Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
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Pittsburgh’s 2021 home games quite possibly will look like something other than wide expanses of bright yellow seats.

Team president Art Rooney II, in his recent conference call with fans, expressed optimism that fans will be back this season.

I think we will,” Rooney said, via the team’s official website. “I am kind of optimistic about it. It’s still early, it’s only March, so we’ll see how things go. I am optimistic we will have fans. Frankly, I am optimistic we will have a full stadium by this fall. Hopefully everybody is out there getting the vaccine and is going to be able to get in crowds and things like that again. Hopefully we are going to be back to pretty close to normal by the fall. Let’s all say our prayers and keep our fingers crossed. But I am optimistic about it at this point.”

Rooney acknowledge that it was a challenge to play in 2020 in an empty venue.

“Having the games without fans was the toughest,” Rooney said. “Just being in the stadium without fans was strange, really weird. I think it did affect the players. I just hope we don’t have to go through that again, that’s for sure.”

It definitely affected the players. It forced them to create their own energy to start games.

The only good thing about having no fans present in multiple venues was that it likely allowed for more comebacks. For the road teams, an effort to erase a double-digit deficit was not impeded by crowd noise. For the home team, boos and catcalls and other reactions when the hosts fell behind made it easier to turn things around.

Still, it’s always better when stadiums are full. Hopefully, all NFL stadiums will be full in 2021 and beyond.