The Pack Will Be Back and the Fans Will Be Too

It may not have seemed that way at first, but the NFL schedule maker has been helpful to the Green Bay Packers this season. The team announced on Friday that there will not be any fans in attendance at Lambeau Field for the first two games of the 2020 season because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that has already claimed more than 160,000 American lives.

In a normal season, the NFL schedules more home games for the Packers early in the season when the weather is still relatively warm and the chances for snow or other forms of bad weather are significantly lower.

In 2019, for example, the Packers played five home games in September and October and only had three in November and December. In 2018, the Pack played three home games in the first four weeks of the season.

But this season, the two games that the team announced would have no fans in attendance takes the Packers all the way through the end of October. The Packers third home game is November 1 when they are scheduled to host the Minnesota Vikings.

This gives the Packers hope that some fans will be able to attend the team’s six remaining home games if the conditions across the country improve between now and late October. Whether the coronavirus starts to finally fade by mutating itself into a less dangerous form, we find a vaccine or if preventative measures finally do contain the virus, the team is hoping to salvage the latter part of the schedule if they can.

Obviously, the announcement that the first two home games will not have fans will cost the team and the city of Green Bay a lot of money. No tickets will be sold, no fans will be driving into or flying into Green Bay for the games. They will not be spending money in bars and restaurants or to buy brats, beer and other typical tailgating food. Hotel rooms will not be reserved and local businesses will certainly feel the pinch.

The team cannot charge for parking or sell tickets to the Hall of Fame, jerseys and other merchandise like programs, food, drinks and tee shirts. There will be no game program sales either.

The city will also lose a lot of tax revenue from ticket sales and from all of the money that would have normally be spent at the first two home games of the regular season after already losing whatever revenue would have been earned from the two preseason games that are played at Lambeau Field annually.

The Packers could have tried to make as much money as possible and gone ahead with full attendance at home games even though it may not be safe. Thankfully, that is not what they decided to do. So, things will be different this season, but for now, that is how it needs to be.

Plenty of things will be missing this season. But perhaps the biggest thing that will be missing is the way attending Packers home games unites the people of Green Bay and really Packers fans everywhere. People coming together and uniting around their football team regardless of age, race, religion, sexual preference, education level and socio-economic background and political party is a beautiful thing that is unfortunately happening less and less in our country these days.

The memories people share of attending games with their parents, grandparents, siblings or best friends will also be lost for the first two months of this season and quite possibly for all the 2020 season.

But these are not normal times. With so many people in this country getting sick and dying, losing their jobs and being unable to do so many things we used to take for granted, normal routines seem like a distant memory.

But at the end of the day, the Packers and the NFL will do what they can to have a season if they can and provide Packers fans and football fans with some semblance of their normal routine. Maybe right now we can’t attend games, but we can hopefully enjoy watching them on TV in relative safety and enjoy watching our favorite players play the game we love.

And we must remember that this rare, once in a hundred years pandemic will not last forever. The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and 1919 was even deadlier than the coronavirus in part because of the aftermath of World War One and in part because medical knowledge was a lot less sophisticated back then. But that pandemic ended and life returned to normal and this one will, too.

The Packers announced that they will not allow fans at the first two home games this year. Some fans may be allowed to attend later games or maybe they won’t. But sometime soon, things will return to normal. The Pack will be back, and the fans will be, too.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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Comments (57)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
ILPackerBacker's picture

August 08, 2020 at 12:19 pm

The packers could have gone ahead and sold out the home games anyway?
Really?

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GilMartin's picture

August 08, 2020 at 01:01 pm

They could have tried to have fans there despite the safety concerns and I'm glad they are putting safety first. Thanks for the comment.

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RobertSchuknecht's picture

August 08, 2020 at 12:24 pm

As a season ticket holder I was disappointed fans will not be allowed for the first two games. Hopefully some of the later games will have fans.

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GilMartin's picture

August 08, 2020 at 01:00 pm

I hope so too because that will mean the virus is improving across Wisconsin and the country. Thanks for commenting.

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PeteK's picture

August 08, 2020 at 03:21 pm

It was a a few cold and desolate decades for us Packer fans, but the Pack finally did come back and it has been glorious. Interesting info on the Spanish flu misnomer. Spain because of their neutrality was the only country accurately keeping count of the pandemic so in turn showed the highest infections (which in actuality were lower than the rest of the world). This caused the world to give the name.

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GilMartin's picture

August 08, 2020 at 03:39 pm

Kind of ironic with regard to the Spanish Flu, right? Yes, the recent decades have been good ones for Packers fans. I remember the 70s and 80s only too well but I never lost faith. Thanks for the comment, PeteK.

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Handsback's picture

August 08, 2020 at 03:47 pm

Odd but not surprising that the Hong Kong flu that killed around 100k in 1968 is never mentioned as a comparison.
Life went on with a war going on in SE Asia, rioting in the streets of major cities...outside the Vietnam War, accurate parallels to today's USA.

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GilMartin's picture

August 08, 2020 at 04:44 pm

Nobody really mentions the Hong Kong flu much. Everybody goes back to the 1918 pandemic as a means for comparison. Thanks for commenting, Handsback.

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mbpacker's picture

August 08, 2020 at 04:13 pm

Go Pack Go & Bang the Drum All Day!

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GilMartin's picture

August 08, 2020 at 04:43 pm

Go Pack Go and thanks for the comment, mbpacker.

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oceanstrength's picture

August 08, 2020 at 04:39 pm

"Thankfully, that is not what they decided to do. So, things will be different this season, but for now, that is how it needs to be." LOL!!!
What a joke! This isnt even close to the spanish flu where a family member would go to work one morning come home sick that night and be carried out in a bag, dead the next day. Perfectly healthy people were dying constantly. Today most of the covid deaths are nursing home patients who statistics say die within a year of being admitted anyway.
This so-called pandemic is a politicized effort to cook the mortality figures for the single purpose of getting Trump out of office.
With all the beer drinking in Wisconsin, I never thought Kool-Aid would be the drink that made you all look like fools with masks.
The boogy man that is stealing your business' money and prosperity is this big lie even the NFL has been tricked by; a virus maybe a little worse than the flue.
The diabolical left knows they need two things to win: 1 Economic damage and 2. Social Unrest. Just two well planned lies perpetuated for just a few more months is all they need. Thanks for you help you herd of dumb animals.

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Guam's picture

August 08, 2020 at 04:51 pm

Please leave the political diatribes for other sites. This is a sports blog and I get more than enough politics elsewhere. I don't need to know your politics or Aaron Nagler's.

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GilMartin's picture

August 08, 2020 at 05:25 pm

Guam, are you referring to my article or the comments?

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Pizzadoc's picture

August 09, 2020 at 11:57 am

I think he is replying to that respected scientist, oceanstrength

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PeteK's picture

August 09, 2020 at 04:40 pm

Dr. Strangelove-- Hahaha

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oceanstrength's picture

August 09, 2020 at 12:06 pm

Guam, Answer Gil's question you oblivious fool. He wasnt sure himself.
You enjoying the 'season'? LOL

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McFly's picture

August 08, 2020 at 05:35 pm

Yeah the whole world is in on it too aren't they?! Such a diabolical plan everyone everywhere has to oust Trump. Countries across the globe going all in! So what if a million people die and the global economy goes in the tank, it will all be worth it if they can get Trump out! I'm so glad there are smart people like you around to point this stuff out, oceanstrength. #tinfoilhelmetsruledude

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oceanstrength's picture

August 09, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Sounds like you dont know what the hell is happening in other countries. Perhaps you should scale down the expectations of your ability to sound intelligent.

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13TimeChamps's picture

August 09, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Those Democrats are sneaky little rascals, aren't they? Amazing how they got the entire world to join them in their diabolical little plot to oust Trump. I'm sure countries like Belgium, Greece, Belarus, and Italy were chomping at the bit to get on board, because they don't have problems of their own to worry about.

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fastmoving's picture

August 09, 2020 at 03:12 am

this is the age of the dumbest with here orange chief. An unamerican fool who does not understand the simplest things and his follower, who may be only racists, because that all he had to offer.
He runs the economy together with all what made America into the ground in 2 years. And he spend more money for it than a socialist. Our money.
The coward and the dumbest 20 precent CONSPIRACY THEORIST want to tell us something. The con man with the mob put us in that mess. Check out the games 100 years ago, already everyone wearing a mask.

But dont come with facts to orange looosers, I know.

Thanks god for Vince

And of course kneel and wearing a mask. what is by the way not a big deal at all. Since when became the right so fat and lacy. hmmmm???

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oceanstrength's picture

August 09, 2020 at 12:11 pm

What are you talking about. Compared to you, Donald Trump sounds like a genius. LOL!

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DenePhillips's picture

August 09, 2020 at 03:41 pm

Greatest President in the history of America!! Donald Trump!!

DemonicRATS like to use WORDS like love, compassion, haters, bigot, systemic, hate, BLM, LGBTQ, racist, homophobic, national health crisis, terrorize, equality, peaceful protests, white supremecy, white privileged,
reparations, and the list goes on. I have voted both Democrat a loooooong time ago and Republican ever since. I have NEVER seen so much HATE towards a President that the DemonicRAT throw at him and yet they preach love and Pelosi saying I don't hate Donald Trump, I don't hate anyone I'm catholic....Make me throw up.

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13TimeChamps's picture

August 09, 2020 at 03:47 pm

Is anyone else suspecting that DenePhillips might be the latest reincarnation of Dash Riprock?

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dobber's picture

August 10, 2020 at 08:48 am

No...Dash was at least eloquent in his stuff. This isn't Dash.

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13TimeChamps's picture

August 10, 2020 at 08:54 am

Oh ok. I just remember him saying stuff to agitate.

But your right. This Dene character is the opposite of eloquent.

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PeteK's picture

August 09, 2020 at 04:45 pm

Not again, Pizza has the right idea. Joke it off and ignore.

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fastmoving's picture

August 09, 2020 at 03:13 am

GO PACK GO

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fastmoving's picture

August 09, 2020 at 03:15 am

Have a beer on Russia and get a new job, you are a lousy CONSPIRACY THEORIST

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stockholder's picture

August 09, 2020 at 10:23 am

I see No one in Bonds. Trying to Hang Trump for Treason? Spite, isn’t justice. Are you blind to the destruction of property, the rebellion, the acts worthy of punishment? Tricks of a guilty consciousness, isn’t standing up for what you believed. Most people want America to be America. The Home of the Free and the Brave. Leave the world out of it.

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Oppy's picture

August 09, 2020 at 12:35 pm

So the entire world is politicizing the Covid-19 virus to get Donald Trump out of office?

You don't really believe that do you?

Do you want to buy a bridge?

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splitpea1's picture

August 08, 2020 at 07:54 pm

The schedule makers aren't too kind to us when they send us to SF for a Thursday nighter on four days rest. Raw deal.

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GilMartin's picture

August 08, 2020 at 08:01 pm

Yeah, that part is a tough one. In fact, it downright stinks. But, the other part of it may end up being helpful to the team. We'll see. Thanks for the comment, splitpea1.

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NickPerry's picture

August 09, 2020 at 02:21 am

Yup they really dropped the ball in that game. As much as I love having an NFL game to watch Thursday Nights, it's a very difficult proposition for the visiting team, especially when the have to travel half way across the country.

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GilMartin's picture

August 09, 2020 at 01:05 pm

I am not a fan of Thursday Night Football either. The quality of play is usually lower, especially for the road teams and it just isn't enough time for players to recover after a Sunday game. Thanksgiving is one thing but every Thursday I can't get into. Thanks for the comment, NickPerry.

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Pizzadoc's picture

August 09, 2020 at 12:01 pm

Why are we going there 2 (regular season) years in a row? Shouldn't they have to come to Lambeau?

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splitpea1's picture

August 09, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Last season our division played their division and the home games were determined by each team's respective order of finish the prior year. This year, we have to go there again because the division-winning conference champion gets the runner-up division winner at home. At least that's how I think it usually works.

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Pizzadoc's picture

August 09, 2020 at 02:20 pm

Thanks! I figured it wasn't just to screw us over.

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arthurl's picture

August 08, 2020 at 09:28 pm

Baseball has been the front runner in playing outside the bubble and there have been some issues if you are following their season to date. I will be curious to see how football prevails where you have more people and thus a greater chance someone test positive. I am hoping to see fans as seeing no fans really takes away from the event. I never realized until now just how important to the event the fans are.

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GilMartin's picture

August 08, 2020 at 09:36 pm

Thanks for the comment, arthurl. Yes, not having fans there changes the atmosphere entirely. Heck, I even miss hearing the silence when my team is on the road and makes a big play that silences the home crowd. As I said in the article, these things will come back and I hope 2020 will be the only season affected by the pandemic. As for baseball, they aren't filling me with optimism that football can work considering all the problems they're experiencing right now.

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Since'61's picture

August 08, 2020 at 10:51 pm

About 70 players around the league have opted out so far. Let’s hope that we have enough players left to actually play the games and that the season is not canceled.
The Vikings Cameron Smith has tested positive for COVID-19 and has a heart condition as a result. I think this will give many more players pause about taking the risk of becoming infected.
If there is a season then we can discuss if and when fans can return to their stadiums. Thanks, Since ‘61

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GilMartin's picture

August 09, 2020 at 01:06 pm

I hope players carefully consider the safety issues before making an informed decision. This isn't a joke. Thanks for the thoughtful comment Since'61.

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Pizzadoc's picture

August 09, 2020 at 02:22 pm

His heart condition was a congenital bicuspid aortic valve, which should have 3 leaflets not 2. It was discovered because he had Covid. Covid can cause some heart stuff like myocarditis and strokes.

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BadgerMan's picture

August 10, 2020 at 12:29 pm

He had this heart condition before COVID-19 but did not know it. This event may have saved his life in long run.

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BoHunter's picture

August 09, 2020 at 07:50 am

Spot on Oceanstrength X2 ! The liberal Fake News media is trying to turn us all into Covidiots. Go Pack Go !

Cheers,

BoHunter

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DenePhillips's picture

August 09, 2020 at 11:32 am

Forget NFL

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nostradanus's picture

August 09, 2020 at 12:30 pm

It’s going to be a strange ride this season but better days are ahead! Hang in there Packer brethren!
Go Pack Go!

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GilMartin's picture

August 09, 2020 at 01:07 pm

I hope so, too nostradanus. We will get through this and certainly never forget it once things return to normal. Thanks for the comment.

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PeteK's picture

August 09, 2020 at 04:53 pm

Yes ,our country has made it through worse times and came out stronger. Stay positive and safe!

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IceBowl's picture

August 09, 2020 at 05:28 pm

We had measles cured. But it came back. WHY? People would not take the vaccine. And it was a vaccine, not the "shot" we are trying to develop to reduce symptoms. (which is not a vaccine). Last week, a poll reported that 35% of Americans would not take the covid shot anyway. Probably "Bears" fans.

Yes, we will get through this, but we will also have to live with it just like the flu.

This football season seems like it will go on ($), but, in my opinion, at the expense of quality and of fans. Heck, 1/2 (?) of any position group can have to quarantine for 2 weeks at any time. Nothing like starting your 3rd string QB or OL for a few weeks.

Maybe a full season gets played, (and I hope so) but with all the asterisks at the end of each category and record, will it mean much?

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dobber's picture

August 09, 2020 at 06:46 pm

Agreed: it will always be "the covid season" and I'm sure that it will always be remembered that way. Still, I don't think anyone puts an asterisk after the Redskins' SB win after the strike-shortened 1982 season...assuming they play most of a season, that might be the closest thing to this in league SB history.

I've watched more baseball in the last several weeks than I did all last season, just because it's so good to see live competition. I think at this stage, any return to normalcy will be cathartic to the general public.

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splitpea1's picture

August 09, 2020 at 08:11 pm

But those asterisks are always lurking in the back of your mind due to weak playoff competition and the use of replacement players. Nothing questionable about the 1991 team, however: best in the NFL from start to finish. It would be hard to find a chirpier radio broadcast team than Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff when the Redskins were winning like that. RFK is scheduled to be demolished soon, which is long overdue because it's fairly delapidated and sporting all kinds of ugly rust spots on the exterior.

I can't get into the spirit of MLB; it's devolved into a pretty poor product to begin with, and with the current situation...it's just too weird. I can't imagine overwhelming ratings for the playoffs or World Series, either.

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dobber's picture

August 10, 2020 at 08:55 am

I can't believe RFK is still standing...are they playing MLS there?

I think we've moved far enough past that strike season that most people don't talk about it that way anymore. They just point to it as part of Washington's run in the 80s, but that's just my perspective.

I agree...the era of "swing-and-a-miss" baseball is infuriating to watch at times. There's no strategy in it...just run guys up there and swing for the fences. The nuance of the game is mostly gone. This is what analytics has gotten us.

I pray that they'll get rid of the DH in the NL once this is all over, but I suspect this is the catalyst for the end of pitchers hitting and the thinking fan's part of baseball.

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PeteK's picture

August 10, 2020 at 10:42 am

I'm not a Cards nor Royals fan ,but loved the 85 series with all the SBs, great fielding and strategy (only 4 dinger total in the series).I don't mind some tweaks to speed up the game(intensional walk, visits to mound) but the juiced up HR craze, three inning pitcher limit, and DH does not sit well with me. However, I'm glad it's back and hope for a great post season.

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splitpea1's picture

August 10, 2020 at 10:54 am

Wouldn't it have been nice to have replay for that Series?

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PeteK's picture

August 10, 2020 at 01:36 pm

That was a historically bad call, but Clark's misplay on the foul ball and Porter's pass ball didn't help.

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splitpea1's picture

August 10, 2020 at 01:56 pm

Sometimes the baseball gods whip the rug out right under your feet; they did it to the Red Sox in Game 6 the following year, too, by toying with the manager's mind and causing wild pitches.

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splitpea1's picture

August 10, 2020 at 10:52 am

Nope--no more MLS.

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