ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — NFL Draft Day for the Buffalo Bills usually means a packed front office, a party for season ticket holders at New Era Field, and lots of people cheering on the team.
This draft hits differently—not only for Bills fans but sports fans across the country.
11 year-old Colin Carlucci and his father Matt have been using Zoom so much for social distancing interaction, they created a green screen in their basement. Thursday, they sat in an interview with 7 Eyewitness News with a virtual New Era Field behind them. It has become the new norm. There hasn’t been sports in weeks.
“Other than games from 10 years ago that are playing on repeat,” said Colin.
With the 2020 NFL Draft being done virtually, the Carlucci’s who are Bills season ticket holders, can’t help but wonder what impact COVID-19 will have on the 2020 NFL season.
“I can’t live without football,” Colin said.
When asked what New Era Field would be like if the players played and there were no fans in the stands Carroll had this to say.
“It would be sterile, boring. The players feed off that energy.”
An NFL spokesperson released the following statement to 7 Eyewitness News:
“We are planning on playing the 2020 season on time and in its entirety. We will be prepared for all alternatives and will adjust accordingly. The situation is constantly evolving, but we are committed to making sure our guidelines, policies, and actions evolve along with it and are informed by the most current advice of medical experts and are consistent with the latest local, state, and federal regulations. As always, our decision-making process will be driven by our primary concern which is the health of the public, players, clubs, and league employees.”
Some believe the season could be shortened.
“We may very well see a truncated season, or a different season,” said Nellie Drew, the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Sport at the University at Buffalo.
Drew says the biggest problem for the NFL and for any major sporting industry is liability.
“Even the very best clinicians are still figuring this one out,” she said.
Drew says one of the most feasible possibilities if COVID-19 cases don’t decline or if it comes back in the fall would be to play the game without fans in the stands. She says even that could be a challenge.
“It would take sophisticated planning. It would potentially involve isolating the people involved.”
While no one really knows what September could look like, Bills season ticket holders like Carroll and the Carlucci family say it’s a wait and see game.
Bills fans are used to hoping and praying the team makes it to the post season, this year, fans say they’re hoping and praying there will be football at all, and that fans will be able to cheer on their beloved Bills at New Era Field.