Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan waves to real fans last season. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was asked about potentially playing in empty stadiums this season that may have crowd noise pumped into them.

His response was utterly perfect.

For those who may not remember, the Falcons were famously fined $350,000 and lost a fifth-round draft pick in 2016. The reason? They had been busted for pumping in fake crowd noise during games. 

The reason Ryan was asked the question in the first place, of course, is that the NFL may play games in empty stadiums this season. COVID-19 is still a big problem in the United States. In fact, 14 states have reportedly seen a significant uptick in new cases this week with their highest seven-day average of new coronavirus infections.

The NFL is still planning on playing games in front of fans this year. But the league is ready to evolve its plan if the coronavirus continues to spread.

We’ve seen Bundesliga pumping in fake crowd noise, and while the sound-board operators are top notch, it’s quite a weird experience.

Not surprisingly, the NFL is considering a similar plan if games must be played in empty stadiums this season.

“It’s pretty much a done deal,” Fox Sports broadcaster Joe Buck said recently during an interview with "Andy Cohen Live" on SiriusXM. “I think whoever is going to be at that control is going to have to be really good at their job and be realistic with how a crowd would react depending on what just happened on the field. So it’s really important. 

“And then on top of that … they’re looking at ways to put virtual fans in the stands, so when you see a wide shot it looks like the stadium is jam-packed and in fact it’ll be empty.”

So, this time, if the Falcons do play in an artificially loud environment, it won’t be their fault.

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


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Can you name the NFL quarterbacks with the most career passing yards all time?
SCORE:
0/47
TIME:
6:00
77,416 / NO (2) / 2001-19
Drew Brees
74,571 / NE (1) / 2000-18
Tom Brady
71,940 / IND (2) / 1998-2015
Peyton Manning
71,838 / GB (4) / 1991-2010
Brett Favre
61,361 / MIA (1) / 1983-99
Dan Marino
59,271 / SD/LAC (1) / 2004-19
Philip Rivers
57,023 / NYG (1) / 2004-19
Eli Manning
56,545 / PIT (1) / 2004-19
Ben Roethlisberger
51,475 / DEN (1) / 1983-98
John Elway
51,186 / ATL (1) / 2008-19
Matt Ryan
49,325 / HOU (4) / 1984-2000
Warren Moon
47,003 / MIN (2) / 1961-78
Fran Tarkenton
46,946 / GB (1) / 2005-19
Aaron Rodgers
46,247 / CIN (3) / 2004-18
Carson Palmer
46,233 / TB (7) / 1987-2007
Vinny Testaverde
44,611 / NE (3) / 1993-2006
Drew Bledsoe
43,040 / SD (1) / 1973-87
Dan Fouts
41,025 / DET (1) / 2009-19
Matthew Stafford
40,922 / NYG (6) / 1995-2011
Kerry Collins
40,551 / SF (2) / 1979-94
Joe Montana
40,239 / BLC (2) / 1956-73
Johnny Unitas
40,067 / BAL (2) / 2008-18
Joe Flacco
38,147 / SEA (6) / 1980-98
Dave Krieg
37,920 / CIN (3) / 1984-97
Boomer Esiason
37,276 / PHI (3) / 1999-2011
Donovan McNabb
36,638 / SEA (4) / 1999-2015
Matt Hasselbeck
35,467 / BUF (1) / 1986-96
Jim Kelly
35,133 / CHI (3) / 2006-17
Jay Cutler
34,837 / LARM (3) / 1986-97
Jim Everett
34,665 / STL (2) / 1966-84
Jim Hart
34,241 / KC (6) / 1978-98
Steve DeBerg
34,183 / DAL (1) / 2004-16
Tony Romo
34,068 / KC (3) / 2005-19
Alex Smith
33,503 / SD (4) / 1962-77
John Hadl
33,462 / NYG (1) / 1979-93
Phil Simms
33,124 / SF (2) / 1985-99
Steve Young
33,070 / SF (3) / 1948-64
Y.A. Tittle
32,942 / DAL (1) / 1989-2000
Troy Aikman
32,886 / BUF (8) / 2005-19
Ryan Fitzpatrick
32,838 / CIN (1) / 1971-86
Ken Anderson
32,344 / ARZ (3) / 1998-2009
Kurt Warner
32,224 / WAS (2) / 1957-74
Sonny Jurgensen
32,072 / JAX (5) / 1994-2011
Mark Brunell
31,594 / CIN (1) / 2011-19
Andy Dalton
31,548 / SF (1) / 1957-73
John Brodie
31,304 / HOU/TEN (2) / 1995-2007
Steve McNair
30,797 / PHI (5) / 1961-76
Norm Snead

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