Training camp is typically one of the most exciting times for NFL fans. Not only is it their first look at the team for the upcoming season, but both fans and media have access to the team they don’t have the rest of the year. They get full practice sessions, access to players for autographs or, in the media’s case, one-on-one interviews.
But that access will be severely limited this year in the wake of the Coronavirus.
Training camp practices, which is still scheduled to begin at the end of the month, will now be limited to just “one pool video camera, one still photographer and up to four pool reporters.”
To put that in perspective, training camp practices typically had a stand full of at least 15-20 people in previous years for Detroit Lions training camp, often much more.
As for fans, though no formal announcement has been made, it’s a foregone conclusion that they will not be present this year. Although ProFootballTalk is reporting the league is hoping to have one or two fan events per team this year.
Unsurprisingly, locker room access is currently not permitted, and in-person interviews are on hold until further notice. For now, interviews will remain only accessible via a virtual setting.
Of course, all of these guidelines are understandable given the circumstances. Everyone’s health should be the priority over everything else. Still, as both a fan and media member, it’s a bummer that one of the most exciting parts of the year will be severely limited. This is our one chance a year to see the team fully practice—as we only get about 15 minutes per practice in-season, and that’s nothing but glorified attendance taking.
But if this is all in the means of protecting the players and actually having a shot at an NFL season this year, it’ll be worth it.