In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we still aren’t sure whether an NFL season will happen, and if so, when fans will be allowed in stadiums. One thing we do know is that it is likely there won’t any Lambeau Leaps in Green Bay in 2020.
Sports Business Daily’s Ben Fischer reported on Wednesday that the first six to eight rows of every NFL stadium will be closed to fans in an effort to further lower the risk of contamination between fans and NFL players.
That space will, instead, be dedicated to “camera-visible signage” that will be sold to sponsors, allowing the NFL to recoup lost revenue. Very few companies get this treatment in professional football, allowing the NFL to try something new.
While this could be good for team finances, in Green Bay, it means the legendary tradition of the Lambeau Leap won’t occur this season.
Brought to fame by former Packers’ safety and Hall of Fame snub LeRoy Butler, a player scoring a touchdown or other game-changing play will leap in the Lambeau Field end zone to celebrate with fans. The original Leap came after Butler scored after a Reggie White fumble recovery and lateral in 1993, creating one of the most celebrated cultural phenomena in sports.
This decision is absolutely the right call, as it prevents the fans in the front rows and the players from potentially contaminating one another, and the money gained from the sponsorship will be of great use to the team, but not seeing the Leap will take some getting used to.
Of course, we have yet to know if or when fans will be allowed in stadiums in the first place, potentially making the above points moot.
Still, the 2019 Green Bay Packers team got very creative with their celebrations, and there is no doubt the team will find a way to make everything between the snaps just as entertaining as we’ve come to expect.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.