Patriots Announce Fans Won't Be Permitted at Gillette Stadium Through September

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2020

The Gillette Stadium logo on the stadium's west facade, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

The New England Patriots announced Tuesday they will not be allowed to host fans at Gillette Stadium through at least the end of September.

The decision was made by the Massachusetts Reopening Advisory Board, which Gov. Charlie Baker created in April to help determine how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The group features state and local leaders as well as public health officials and members of the business community.

This decision will affect the team's home opener in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 13 as well as the Week 3 game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sept. 27.

The Patriots had proposed a plan that included 20 percent capacity at home games, but the governor wouldn't consider it.

"We've had conversations with them and with the Red Sox, and we've basically said, 'Look, we're focused at this point on schools, and wouldn't plan to do anything with respect to anything like that until we get much further into the fall,'" Baker said.

The NFL is set to move forward with its regular season as scheduled in September, but most teams have made adjustments to seating plans that include reduced fan attendance. The Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears have all announced they will start the 2020 season without fans in attendance.

The Patriots have had one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL for more than a decade. The squad has gone at least 6-2 at home each year since 2009 and is 48-8 over the last seven regular seasons.

There are also no standards across the league as each team is creating its own protocol for attendance.

It's a different situation from MLB, which hasn't allowed any fans, or the NBA and NHL, which have utilized "bubble" scenarios.

Over 169,000 people in the United States have died of COVID-19, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.