Wanted to update you guys on some new but predictable news. The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t be allowed to have fans for its final home game on December 27th against the Indianapolis Colts. That’s due to new restrictions from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, limiting outdoor gatherings to no more than 50 people and barring any spectators from sporting events.
The order goes into effect this Saturday and runs through January 4th.
That game against the Colts is the team’s only home game the rest of the regular season. They’ll travel to Buffalo for Sunday night’s game, then to Cincinnati for Monday the 21st. After hosting Indianapolis, they’ll make the short trek out to Cleveland for the regular season finale on January 3rd.
It’s unclear what will happen come playoffs. The Steelers are highly likely to be hosting at least one playoff game and potentially having home-field advantage for the postseason.
Pittsburgh only played a couple games in front of their Heinz Field crowd, allowed at reduced capacity, this season. Their final home game with fans came on November 15th against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers were supposed to have fans for their Thanksgiving game against Baltimore but the game was postponed and fans weren’t allowed the following Wednesday.
Pittsburgh is 6-1 on the year. With the lack of fans around the league diminishing home field advantage, road teams actually have a winning record in 2020.
The COVID impact on the NFL: there are few if any fans in the stands. So there is no 12th man at Seattle, no decibel-splitting roar at Arrowhead & no longer a homefield advantage in the NFL. Road teams have a 96-94-1 record this season, including a 10-4 mark last weekend.
— Rick Gosselin (@RickGosselin9) December 8, 2020
The lack of fans is also hurting the league’s revenue, contributing to uncertainty about where the 2021 cap will fall. In a best-case scenario, it will hold flat at the 2020 number of $198.2 million. Before the season began, the NFL agreed that number wouldn’t fall under $175 million.
Other enhanced restrictions in Pennsylvania include: all indoor dining is prohibited, all indoor gyms closed, and sports at the middle/high school level are paused. COVID cases in the state have spiked with numbers eclipsing 10,000 in six of the last seven days.