Don't Expect Fans at Any Seahawks Home Game This Season
2020 has been a brutal year for all of us, in one way or another. It seems like right after you finally dust yourself off after some bad news knocked you down, another punch comes flying in. No one likes bad news and 2020 has been full of it.
After not having any spectators in attendance for their first three home games, the Seahawks announced on Thursday that they will not host fans for their Week 8 home game against the 49ers on November 1.
Unfortunately, the news won't get any better if you are hoping to be sitting at CenturyLink Field for a Seahawks home game this season. I will tell it to you straight - don't hold your breath. It seems as if it is more likely that Antonio Brown wins Teammate of the Year than Seattle hosts fans this year.
Trust me, I want it as badly as you. It hurts to see perhaps the best Seahawks team since they won the Super Bowl playing in front of nobody, but let's look at what the Washington state health officials and politicians have said on the matter.
In a press conference in August, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee along with state Secretary of Health John Wiesman addressed the possibility of having fans in the stands at CenturyLink Field for the upcoming Seahawks season.
Their comments should not inspire hope for the immediate future.
"I think our priority really is getting our (COVID-19 transmission) rates down to that 25 per (100,000 people in the state) that we've said, so we can get kids back in school," Wiesman said. "I really think that's our main priority as we are looking at this."
"And as we are able to achieve that, then we may be able to look at other things that are also reasonable."
Inslee issued a directive in June that allows pro sports practices and games in the state, but without fans attending.
"So, yeah, the governor and I haven't had a conversation about this recently," Wiesman said. "But I know that we are really focused about wanting to return our kids to school, and that's where we are really putting our energy." (via The Daily Chronicle).
It sounds a lot like health officials in this state are putting their energy into, frankly, more important things, such as getting kids back in schools. Only then, will they consider "other things that are also reasonable," which implies things like fans in stands.
The key here is the goal they have set of 25 new cases per 100,000 Washington residents in the state. Once Washington reaches that number, they will consider putting fans in the stands.
Unfortunately, the state as a whole has a long, long way to go to meet this goal. Late last month, the rate dipped to 70 cases per 100,000. However, with flu season and cold weather on the rise, forcing people inside, numbers across the board have begun to swing up again and currently the rate is at 103.6 cases per 100,000. That's a long way from the goal of 25 and it's going the wrong direction.
I hate being the voice of doom and this is not fear-mongering. These are based on what health officials have stated regarding what the state needs to achieve before allowing fans back at CenturyLink Field and the numbers are not close to where they need to be.
Those clamoring for fans in Seattle because other places are doing it successfully should understand that this is not the NFL's decision. These are decisions made by local government and health departments, so each team will have vastly different methods to allow fans in the stands since NFL teams stretch far and wide on the political and health department mindset spectrum.
As it stands now, there is little to no chance the Seahawks will host fans this season, with the last home game just two months away on December 27. The weather will only get colder and wetter and the holidays present yet another opportunity for cases to spike. The numbers are climbing and far from the goal.
What can you do to reverse the trend? Health officials have pleaded for masks to be worn properly, social distancing, and limiting indoor gatherings. If anything, do it for the Seahawks and for your fellow 12s and maybe, just maybe, fans can be in attendance for a home playoff game.
To keep tabs on the state's progress yourself, head to Washington's COVID-19 risk assessment board.