Story By: Sol Tucker
Photos By: Edward Kerns II
With a much needed get away this past weekend, I decided to step outside of the media realm and check out a NFL game and see what it was like to experience it as a fan in these COVID-19 times. One word, different!
Usually on game day in Jacksonville, even under losing circumstances, you will find quite a few people gathering outside the stadium, tailgating etc. This game just felt different. It was a Sunny 75 outside, but inside the temperature of fun dropped quickly.
One thing we noticed that was significantly different was the recorded message that attending todays game could result in death from possible exposure. What happened to the days of going to game and the worst thing you had to worry about was possibly passing out in front of your friends, puking in the parking lot… but DEATH!! That’s the reality of how certain stadiums have to put it to those wishing to take the risk with their mask on the entire time.
The usually fun seat ushers are now seat mask patrols. Equipped with handheld signs that used to say “Wait until stop in Play,” things like that. Clearly they want to have people playing the safety dance in their mind instead of exposing people to this horrible virus.
While watching a Jags game is pretty painful for those who are still fans under a owner who has spent more on a luxury yacht, then the team. Perhaps the sale of the $180 million dollar downtown eyesore will help revamp this team.. wouldn’t bank on that one.
The sights around the stadium are just different. It just does not have that warm and fuzzy Sunday Funday feeling when the dude in front of you is cheering with Jags colored respirator. Hopefully by the time 2021 rolls around for these fans, times may be a little bit different.. but they may not. How many fans are really going to come back? Guess we will wait to see if the Jags fans really roar again in 2021 like they used to before this awful virus hit America.
So if you get a chance to check out a sporting event going into 2021, consider yourself lucky.. there will not be too many places to see them in person. We can only hope it gets better by the middle of the year.
Fans can make the trek to Tampa for Super Bowl, but the NFL has yet to release the total number of fans allowed in Raymond James Stadium.