Soldier Field in Chicago. Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not yet known whether the 2020 NFL season will be played with fans in attendance around the United States. Recent national trends relating to the COVID-19 pandemic seem to suggest it’s unlikely.

This hasn’t stopped the league from displaying confidence that fans will be allowed to attend games. That now includes one NFC team in particularly.

The Chicago Bears are “hopeful” and “confident” fans will be on hand at Soldier Field this season.

“We’re still extremely hopeful, confident, that we’re gonna have a season with fans,” said Bears CEO and President Ted Phillips, via Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s only good business practice to look at contingencies, and if we’ve learned anything in the past three months it’s expect the unexpected. … But we’re still extremely hopeful.”

This stance seems to fly in the face of science. Earlier today Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the 2020 NFL season would more than likely have to be played in a bubble. While the league has pushed back against this thinking, it’s reportedly common sentiment within the scientific community. 

As of Thursday afternoon, there has been 134,000 cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, with more than 6,500 deaths. Though, unlike other states, cases have reportedly been on a downward trajectory in recent weeks.

That’s where the situation gets tricky as it relates to fans being in attendance this fall. It would not be fair to look at individual states and use those numbers to dictate whether fans can attend. After all, the likes of California, Arizona, Texas and Florida continue to see rising cases in recent days, according to reports.

At this point, it’s reasonable to conclude the NFL season will go on as planned. It’s unrealistic to believe stadiums will be at full capacity, or that fans will be allowed to attend at all. 

Maybe there’s a happy medium here that includes the ability of fans to socially distance within some venues.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.

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