The 2020 season was tough on everyone considering the havoc that the COVID-19 pandemic caused to not only the NFL, but the world as a whole.
While fans were able to get back into the stands late in the season in limited capacities, it just wasn’t the same thing we’ve all become accustomed to all these years watching sporting events. That should change this fall though as the NFL plans on having full capacity at all stadiums, which should help recoup a significant amount of money the league lost in 2020.
Knowing that fans will be back in the stands and cheering on their favorite teams this fall has Pittsburgh Steelers’ veteran cornerback Joe Haden excited, to say the least.
Appearing on The Pat McAfee Show Friday, Haden dished on everything from a potential position change, his toughest receivers to cover in the league, and more, including discussing the return of fans into the stands for the 2021 season.
“I’m a thousand percent ready for the fans to be back,” Haden said Friday. “I think the one thing, it was a lot easier for defensive communication in games. You know, we play home games when our crowd would be going crazy. When the offense was out there, we couldn’t really hear and make communications with defensive players. I think that was one of the only things, but I’d much rather the fans bring the energy, the pre warm ups, just having people out there…during the pre-season it’s just reminded me just having it during the Hall of Fame game, just being out there that how much fans really brings to the game, you know, just having them out there, you feel like you’re performing. Like it is what it is like you’re obviously when they weren’t there it’s a business, you’re gonna make sure your tape matters, your performance, because this is what you do. It’s your job, you’re professional. But that extra that you get when everybody’s out there and they’re screaming and going crazy and like that blood flow? I mean, you can’t buy that.”
Haden and the Steelers return to Heinz Field with fans in the stands on Saturday night against the Detroit Lions in the third week of the preseason for the black and gold. Haden and many of the starters will get some run Saturday night in the preseason tune-up for the Sept. 12 regular season opener in Buffalo in front of one of the more raucous fanbases in the NFL.
It will be great to see packed NFL stadiums once again, truly bringing some normalcy back into everyone’s lives on Thursday, Sundays and Mondays.