COVID-19 has turned the sports world upside down. Before this pandemic, fans had the opportunity to cheer on their favorite teams in person.
Imagine you’re a player walking out on the field with 20,000 fans cheering you on. This energy that the fans bring is something that excites you. However, without fans, things are much different
“When you play in a stadium with no fans, no noise, you’ve got to bring your own energy for three hours … And you win, nobody to high-five, no kid to throw your gloves to,” said New England Patriots safety Jason McCourty. “You come to the realization that we’re going to have to do a lot of this ourselves, generate a lot of the energy ourselves.”
Recent NFL Season
Fans can build up the adrenaline of players the moment that they step on the playing field. As a result, the home team tends to play better with their fans behind them. Nevertheless, with no fans to support home teams this season, the outcome of games looked way different than in previous years.
For the first time in NFL history, road teams won more games than home teams during the regular season. Road teams won 128 games while home teams won 127 games.
It’s hard to assume that no fans in stadiums could have led to this surprising statistic. But then again this was the first season in history that stadiums couldn’t allow fans and look what happened.
Many NFL athletes had things to say about the positive impacts of fans.
“Fans are such a big part of the game,” said Kansas Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu. “Cities & Teams have to figure out a way to get them involved.
“You can’t really envision what an NFL game is like without fans,” said McCourty. “This felt more like a high school scrimmage.”
Fans have had a direct impact on teams and their performance in their home stadium.
Why Do Fans Make Such a Difference?
It’s a fourth and goal with five seconds left. The players are hyping up the crowd, the energy is electric, the opposing team can’t hear the play from the sideline. These moments are why fans make a difference.
“When I play in the biggest games, I love to have fans present,” said Division I Bradley soccer player Nick Feeney. “Even when we are on the road, seeing the other team’s fans helps boost my adrenaline, which contributes to my play on the field.”
Even in some cases, fans are the reasons that teams win some very important games. That’s why having home-field advantage in the postseason is so important.
No team wants to travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs or go to Seattle to play the Seahawks. It’s not because they are good teams, but rather because of the fans’ effect on the game. According to the Guinness Book of World Record, Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, registered a record 142.2 decibels in 2014. This is said to be louder than a jet taking off.
Does every stadium bring that same energy as the Chiefs or Seahawks do?
No, but when fans bring big energy, begin to cheer their team on, the whole stadium will start to erupt. Fans make games more electrifying which has a significant impact on the outcome of sports games.
“My favorite game that I have been to is when DePaul played Texas Tech last year,” said DePaul student Kostas Koukounaras. “Texas Tech was obviously the better team, but the DePaul fans brought the energy from the tip. This was the loudest DePaul game that I have been to, which is why I think DePaul upset the talented Texas Tech squad.”
Featured Image Courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens