Falcons' Alex Mack: Empty NFL Stadiums Would Help Opposing Teams Hear Play Calls

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2020

Atlanta Falcons center Alex Mack (51) during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Atlanta Falcons center Alex Mack told Vaughn McClure of ESPN (h/t Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk) one reason he hopes there are fans in the stadium when the season starts in the fall is the ease of which opponents could hear his team's signals without anyone in the crowd.

"I'd be concerned with people hearing my calls," Mack said. "I don't want that recorded and let the opposing team next week hear everything we say because then every week we have to change every code word, term, line call we've ever used and that, to me, is annoying and so I don't want to do that. But I like the idea of finding new ways to entertain people and add like the second level of sports viewing for people at home because it's all we have."

Mack also raised concerns about how "flat" the environment would be inside the stadium, although he acknowledged it could prevent opposing defenses from getting hyped up by the crowd as well.

The 34-year-old, who played the first seven seasons of his career on the Cleveland Browns, is a staple on the Falcons' offensive front. He is yet to miss a game in his four years with the Falcons and made the Pro Bowl in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Even when the six-time Pro Bowler didn't make a seventh in 2019, Pro Football Focus gave him a solid overall player grade of 72.1.

As for fans in the stadium, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports noted Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told CNBC, "Right now—today—we're planning to have fans in the stadium."

Robinson reported coaches could return to team facilities that have been closed for much of the offseason as soon as next week, which could lead to full-squad minicamps at some point between June 15 and June 27.

There still have not been any concrete decisions made by the league when it comes to fans in stadiums if and when the season starts in September. Mack's Falcons start their regular season on Sept. 13 against the Seattle Seahawks as they attempt to bounce back from last year's 7-9 record.