The number of fans at Paul Brown Stadium for year one of the Joe Burrow era will be greatly reduced but that may carry a hidden advantage.
The Cincinnati Bengals have made an announcement revealing their plan for reduced seating capacity, and several other pandemic related precautions at Paul Brown Stadium official for the upcoming season.
While football with very few or zero fans is certainly better than the nightmare scenario of no NFL season at all, the Bengals not being able to play in front of a packed house is unfortunate, to say the least. It has been a long time since Cincinnati was so excited about a Bengals season.
Joe Burrow could benefit
As much as Bengals fans want to believe Joe Burrow will immediately turn this franchise back into a contender, that just isn’t realistic. Burrow was one of five first-round draft picks from LSU’s reigning National Championship squad. Surrounded by elite talent, facing collegiate defenses, he was able to light the college football world on fire.
Despite a good effort by the front office this offseason, Burrow will not have some of the same benefits he experienced at LSU to start in Cincinnati.
Thus, Burrow is going to make bad throws, commit turnovers, and have bad games, the same as any other young signal-caller. Here lies the positive of limited to no crowds at home. Fans that attend NFL games can be a tough crowd. They worship players, especially highly-touted quarterbacks, before the game. Then, if that player goes out and lays an egg, they will get booed out of the building.
Sometimes, that ruins a young quarterback’s confidence before his career really gets going. Admittingly, Burrow doesn’t seem to be rattled by much and has already said he will be ready to go no matter what decisions are made about fans. Even so, he is going to have a bumpy ride in 2020.
When those bumps happen, being booed by 10-15,000 home fans instead of 60,000+ is a lot easier to deal with. That lessens the chance of him not being able to overcome early adversity even more, which will only help Burrow in the long run.