Beloved athletes and roaring fans alike will be missed.
The City of Philadelphia announced last week that while the Eagles and Phillies will be able to practice and play games in their stadiums, no fans would be allowed for the foreseeable future due to safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Eagles are still going to be allowed to play, although without crowds. The Phillies will continue to be allowed to play, although without crowds," said Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy, who recently resigned.
However, days after the announcement, city officials clarified their earlier statement, claiming that it is a "fluid situation", that the policy is under "constant review," and that discussions between the city and the Eagles are "ongoing."
League and health officials are very confident that both seasons are going to resume but behind closed doors. The MLB is already set to resume on July 23 or 24 after a short spring hiatus. On the other hand, the NFL looks to make its normal September return following a shortened preseason schedule.
The proposed ban on fans attending games is distinguished from the city-wide ban on "large events of 50 or more people" that lasts until at least the beginning of 2021, as stadiums are considered to be private venues.
However, the city’s ruling on such gatherings also suggests that private institutions and properties are advised to follow the same instructions. Mayor Jim Kenney made both of the announcements on the same day.
The decision could potentially have implications for Penn Athletics. Unlike the NFL and MLB, Penn and the Ivy League will not be playing sports this fall, but when they do, there will likely be significant debate over whether or not to allow supporters in the stands.
Given the extremely cautious approach that Penn and the Ivy League have taken thus far regarding the pandemic, it would not be surprising if they came to a similar decision.
Eagles fans have been known to be among the rowdiest fans in the NFL since their days at Franklin Field. Notably, Penn Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Eric Furda made national news when he was caught screaming belligerently after a no-call at the Lions-Eagles game last September, symbolizing the fan base to many.
The Eagles will miss their near 70,000 fans per game, which ranked 14th in the NFL last year, and the Phillies will also hope to get their 34,000 fans back into the stands as soon as possible.
The Phillies will have their home-opener this Friday against the Miami Marlins while the Eagles are scheduled to play in the City of Brotherly Love for the first time this fall against the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 20.