Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Garoppolo excited to play in empty stadiums, and why that may give 49ers an advantage

Aug 4, 2020 at 4:04 PM--

The 2020 NFL season will be different. Very different. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the league will become even more evident when teams finally step onto football fields across the country. Players already feel the difference with training camps being conducted very cautiously.

You've probably seen it already. Major League Baseball is playing sans fans in the stadium seats. The NBA looks...well...odd.

Sports leagues are adapting to the circumstances, and the NFL is trying to navigate its way toward a 2020 season. That, as is the case with other leagues, will likely mean an absence of fans, taking away that aspect of home-field advantage. At least the home teams won't have to deal with the potential travel rules intended to protect players, staff, and the NFL's season.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spoke with reporters today via a video conference call and was asked about his thoughts on playing in massive NFL venues without the roar from the crowd.

"It will be different. No silent count will be needed on the road," Garoppolo responded. "So, that's a luxury. I'm pretty excited about that one. It'll be different."

That also means players won't be able to feed off the home crowd or a hostile road environment. Instead, there will be silence. That might give the 49ers an advantage over some opponents, though.

"You'll have to bring your own juice," Garoppolo explained. "I'll tell you what, our team, that's one thing that we don't have a problem with, though. It's bringing the energy, we bring it every day in practice, and you see it out there during training camp already. The first walk-through basically felt like full speed.

"So, it's just one of those things I keep saying it, but we're just going to have to adapt to it and change on the fly, I guess. And I'm sure there'll be some hiccups along the way, but the better we can adapt, and the more quickly we can adapt, the better."

While no fans in the stadiums might give road-team offenses an edge, it doesn't do the same thing for defenses at home.

"I think no crowd gives an advantage to -- I would say gives it to the offense," defensive lineman Arik Armstead explained in July. "Defensively, we communicate, but we don't have to communicate as much. So, when the crowd is there, and they're loud and rowdy, it definitely affects the offense a bunch.

"But it's going to be a challenge for both, too. Defensively, you make a big play, and it's kind of quiet. Really, no momentum shift or anything like that. It could be a little weird."

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