When the 2020 NFL season begins next month, you won’t see your favorite team’s mascot or cheerleaders on the field.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the most recent NFL-NFLPA protocols include prohibiting mascots and cheerleaders from the playing field, according to multiple reports. NFL Network first reported the news.
The updated protocols also preclude reporters and those on pregame television panels from having sideline access, a decision that could move sideline reporters to the stands.
The NFL has let teams establish their own stadium protocols — like the number of fans allowed in the stands, for example — based on local health guidelines. But it looks like there could be some league-wide standards in place as the expectations for the gameday experience during a pandemic are ironed out. As it turns out, the presence of mascots will be a part of that.
In baseball, we’ve seen mascots like the Phillie Phanatic in various parts of Citizens Bank Park, albeit without fans to engage with. Perhaps a similar approach will be taken in the NFL. As long as there are camera shots of distraught mascots after turnovers, we’ll be able to have some sense of normalcy.
In addition to mascots and cheerleaders, there were a few other updated protocols also reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Players will not be allowed to pickup takeout food when on the road.
One notable change in latest NFL-NFLPA travel protocols:— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 19, 2020
Players and other members of a team’s traveling party -- already banned from leaving the hotel to eat or dining in at restaurants open to the public -- won't be allowed to pick up takeout either.
Check-in, then lockdown.
The ever-popular player jersey exchange is banned, too, even after colliding with one another over and over again over a three-hour period.
The updated NFL-NFLPA protocols remove the language specifically prohibiting postgame jersey exchanges -- but such exchanges between players still won’t be allowed, per source.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 19, 2020
All individuals with bench area access are prohibited from sharing personal items, including clothing.
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