Panthers schedule: How limited fans could help on the road

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /
1 of 4
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers schedule
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /

Home-field advantage plays a key role in the outcome of games, but could the coronavirus pandemic impact the Panthers schedule in 2020?

The Carolina Panthers schedule has seen a top-ten attendance average every season since ESPN started tracking the metric in 2006. Organizations like the Roaring Riot have only helped build a home-field advantage for the team, despite inconsistent winning seasons.

However, looking over the Panthers’ schedule, there are quite a few venues that boast daunting fan numbers on their 2020 calendar.

Will Covid-19 cause the first-ever campaign with mandated social distancing or empty grandstands? The launch of the NFL season is still months away and no one knows what the situation will be by that point. We do know the league is discussing contingencies for reduced crowds in the event social distancing measures are still in place when competitive action gets underway. This would have serious implications for the Panthers schedule.

Speaking to the Washington Post, a person involved who wanted to remains anonymous had this to say.

"“I don’t know if it’ll be a one-third-filled stadium, a half-filled stadium or whatever. The NFL is planning for everything from playing without fans to playing in full stadiums. We know there will be a push from the [federal] government to open things up.”"

We also know that owners are interested in finding ways to at least get some fans in seats. No plan has been set forth officially by the NFL. And it may ultimately be up to individual states and cities to chose. That didn’t stop Panthers’ owner David Tepper from bringing up the issue this week.

But no matter if it’s “some fans” or no fans, 2020’s crowd noise will be something unique in the history of the NFL. Could the possibility of empty stands or decreased capacity venues, due to Covid-19, actually help the Panthers out on the road this season?