Buffalo News – “Where would you rather be than right here, right now?” is what Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy used to say to fire up his Bills teams.
There’s nowhere that Buffalo fans would rather be than at Bills Stadium in January, when the team hosts its first playoff game since 1996. [The game will be played the weekend of January 9-10.]
The only NFL team that plays in New York State has been on the mind of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo this week.
The governor is considering allowing a limited number of spectators to watch the game in person, after a regular season in which fans were banned due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The Bills’ players miss having the “12th Man” on hand and fans are hankering to return. The plan outlined by the state Health Department is more conservative than that of any other NFL team that allows fans in its building.
It’s time to open the gates, gradually, and make this happen.
Cuomo said the state would allow up to 6,700 fans into the playoff game, spread out in a stadium that seats 70,000.
The Cleveland Browns allow 12,000 in their games, the Miami Dolphins 13,000. The Dallas Cowboys, by Texas state law, allow up to 50% capacity in their stadium that seats more than 100,000. The Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day crowd was 30,048.
There have been scattered cases of fans who attended a game testing positive for Covid-19, but no known major outbreaks.
New York would be the first state to employ rapid testing for everyone admitted to the game, along with contact tracing for those testing positive.
Cuomo says the state will provide those resources. Short of herding fans into some kind of bubble, New York’s plan appears about as safe as one could devise.
The bigger potential for trouble lies outside the stadium’s friendly confines …
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