SEATTLE — CenturyLink Field, home to some of the loudest fans in the NFL will lose a bit of its home field advantage this season.
The Seattle Seahawks announced Wednesday that the first three home games of the season — against New England, Dallas, and Minnesota — would be played without fans in attendance because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Lorin Sandretzky, aka Big Lo, is one of the more well-known Seattle sports fans and a 36-year season ticket holder for the Seahawks.
“It's just it's hard to fathom the guys playing without us. Without the 12th Man Without that energy without that 'fandemonium,'” he said.
The team said it will "follow the lead of public health and government officials" on whether to allow fans at the remaining five home games of the 2020 season.
Sandretzky hopes so.
“We’ll be back in the stands you know, hopefully, six weeks into the season maybe I'm thinking, it just sounds like there's promise there,” he said.
Occidental Avenue S this empty on a Seahawks gameday would be a problem for the several businesses already closed or struggling due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
One employee put it bluntly, “it sucks” they said, asking to not reveal their place of employment.
Sandretzky knows it is just as important to help those shops that normally would be booming this time of year.
“They need that support, I mean these guys have been out a lot of money with no mariners no Sounders. It's hard. It's got to be really hard on them,” he said.
The NFL plans to allow teams to travel and play in their home stadiums as opposed to a bubble format similar to what the NBA has done.
Sandretzky says he’s somewhat confident the NFL can pull it off.
“ I'm wondering why they didn't go hockey rink style and put a Plexiglas all the way around the stadiums, so the fans can be there,” he joked.
Big Lo says he is going to do exactly what he did for the Mariners home opener which is come down here, and root for his squad – just from the outside.
Meanwhile, the NFL does not have a blanket policy on fans this season outside of requiring they all wear a mask – whether fans are allowed to attend games will be left up to the teams.
The Seahawks will open their season on Sept. 13 in Atlanta. The Falcons also announced this week that their home games will have no fans in attendance at least through September.
Seahawks official statement:
"After careful consideration, we have made the difficult determination to play at least our first three home games (Sept. 20, Sept. 27 and Oct. 11) without fans in attendance. While CenturyLink Field has become the best home field advantage in the league thanks to the energy and passion of the 12s, the health and safety of all of our fans, players and staff remains our top priority. While we are hopeful that conditions will improve as the season moves forward, we will continue to follow the lead of public health and government officials to make future decisions about having fans in attendance."