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As of Sept. 5, FirstEnergy Stadium will allow 6,000 fans at the Browns’ first two home matchups against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Washington Football Team.

The Cleveland Browns will return with a bang this Sunday against a tenacious opponent in the Baltimore Ravens.

Because the conventional tetralogy of preseason games was abolished across the league, the season will certainly launch with a quick start.

The immediate gravity of every down should provide fans with exhilarating football. It is natural for Cleveland fanatics to yearn for the opportunity to attend a matchup where the Browns altogether annihilate their adversary in a tremendous display of athleticism and vigor.

Yet the 2020 NFL season is juxtaposed with its own set of new challenges and additional limitations, chiefly begot by the ever-badgering COVID-19 epidemic. A major topic of ongoing controversy: will NFL fans be allowed to attend games this year?

Instead of the NFL wholly banning fans from games, they allowed the respective host cities to make the decisions regarding fan regulations for the upcoming season. This resulted in a sporadic array of policies.

Some cities will permit a minute fraction of the fans they would typically accommodate to attend games, while other venues will not allow fans at all -- at least for the start of the season and foreseeable future.  As a result, the term “home field advantage” wears a brand-new badge this year.

For some teams, the only natural sound they will hear in the stands towards their squad will be the echo of boos and hisses during away contests. Home games will be accompanied with artificial crowd noise piped through the stadium’s high-tech sound system. 

It will almost be like an episode of Seinfeld with a delayed laugh track. 

What happens when the quarterback flaps his arms directionally dependent on the situation, as he would in a normal game to hush the crowd or conjure up cheers?  Will they adhere to his command and turn up the volume of fake shouts providing encouragement or hit the mute button during intense situations? Will they project imitation catcalls when the referees punish the home team on another “close call?”

FirstEnergy Stadium will allow 6,000 fans at the Browns’ first two home matchups against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Washington Football Team. The individuals who are granted exclusive access to these games will fill less than 10% of the venue’s 67,895 seats.

To be honest, I would rather watch the Browns in my living room anyway. I credit this meditation to an assortment of reasons.

First, by staying at home, I do not have to deal with traffic. Finding an affordable parking spot that does not require me to walk a 5K to get back to the arena can be one of the most meticulous and frustrating objectives to complete. 

Second, I do not have to pay for over-priced, high-caloric food; nor do I have to take out a second mortgage on the house to afford a lukewarm cup of beer and froth, a good portion of which I will spill returning to my assigned plastic highly-elevated lawn chair.

Third, I can actually see what’s going on during the game when I watch it on my high-definition television, as opposed to when I’m in the stands sitting behind an ever-standing Big Bird who’s enjoyed a few too many Harry Brewdini’s. The infinite amount of camera-shots and angles that I can witness on my flatscreen far outmatches my will to bring opera glasses to a Browns game.

Plus, as a bonus, the bathroom is literally a first down away. 

Let me be clear, I do not want to discourage the “lucky few” who will be attending the upcoming Browns regular season home competitions. There will be far fewer fans than normal, so please remember that if you are going to a game, you will be representing Cleveland nation on a national medium. 

Let us show the NFL not only how supportive we are of the Dawg Pound, but how respectable we are towards the stadium workers and the guidelines they have established. They have undoubtedly put in a lot of work just to allow fans to attend, and the employees deserve every bit of gratitude and cooperation we can give them.

This could be the year, folks! It is 2020 and weird situations have manifested.

Would it really be that outlandish if the Browns made the Super Bowl this season? Stranger things have already occurred.

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West Sunbury, PA native & recent AU grad. Also the news and sports announcer for 104.5 WQKT in Wooster & a trivia host at local venues. An avid vinyl record collector with a cat named Raava and hedgehog named Lucille.