The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will games be played with fans at some capacity this year?
We are inching forward closer and closer to something resembling normality in the NFL with each passing day. From the sounds of it, we could see coaches return to facilities next week. Perhaps in the near future after that, some unknown limited number of players will be allowed to be at the facility as well.
We still have more than three months before any meaningful game is to be played, however. There is a lot of time for improvement. There is already talk about potential plans for fan attendance, which is always a good sign. Teams are selling tickets.
We don’t know for sure what will happen in September, but the momentum suggests that they will play games with fans in attendance by the time September rolls around. Before then, they should have plenty of data to parse through when the MLB, NHL, and NBA return to play before they do, and see how they handle things.
One thing I doubt that we’ll see is stadiums at full capacity. There will be some restrictions on the number of people who can gather and in how close of quarters at least until there is a greater communal immunity response (a combination of vaccination and prior infection), and that won’t be here before the 2020 season begins. Or by the time it ends, either, for that matter.