When the Houston Texans have their home opener in Week 2, things will be very different at NRG Stadium.
The Houston Texans won’t be having any fans in their home opener for the 2020 season when Week 2 rolls around, and for the Texans, that will be a big change to the usual atmosphere that holds 72,000-plus fans each home game.
Now most teams are most likely going to have no fans early on — though there are those who are going to try to have fans in the early weeks of the season — but for the Texans, it will be a bit strange because there is usually a great atmosphere cheering on the likes of J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson and the rest of the two-time defending AFC South champions.
Other professional sports such as MLB, NBA, WNBA and the NHL haven’t allowed fans to their games since the COVID-19 pandemic began or since returning to action. The NHL, WNBA and NBA are in what they describe as “bubbles” where they stay on site of their games at all times, and they aren’t allowed visitors, either.
Now there is the opinion of general manager and head coach Bill O’Brien, who recently spoke about the topic of no fans in the stands in a recent media conference with comments provided by NFL Communications and the Texans media staff:
"“Yeah, that’s a tough decision. I know that Cal (McNair) and Jamey (Rootes) came to that decision because that’s what’s in the best interest for our fans and where we are right now with this virus in Houston and really in the country and in the world. That was in the best interest of the health and safety of those fans.”"
Houston Texans news: Tough decision was made by front office
Houston Texans head coach O’Brien continued to talk about how tough of a decision it is to have been made, and how it affects the Texans and the game atmosphere:
"“But at the same time, it’s tough. It’s tough. It’s not easy. We have – you think back to the Buffalo game last year, the crowd was such a big part of that win for us and many, many other games since I’ve been here that they’ve really willed us to win. It’s tough, but it is what it is, and we’ll see them soon. But we won’t see them in September.”"
Now for the Texans, they must move ahead and be prepared to play in an atmosphere that will be very different for them and the Baltimore Ravens. What stinks about all of this is the fact if there ever was a game needed with a sold-out crowd for the Houston Texans, it is Week 2 at home against a Baltimore team which handled the Texans pretty easily last season, as the Texans were defeated 41-7.
It won’t be easy for the Houston Texans to face Lamar Jackson without a rowdy fan base cheering them on, but it is what it is, and the Texans will have to adjust and focus on the game in front of them.
The Houston Texans will already be coming off a tough game in Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, so facing another very strong and talented team in Week 2 isn’t great for Houston.
Add the absence of no fans in the stands, and that is just another hurdle for the Texans to overcome. The good thing about all of this is the Texans have great leadership with Watt, Watson, Whitney Mercilus and other veterans who will keep this team in the right frame of mind.
Watching other professional sports not have fans has been very interesting to say the least, but the Houston Texans can get past this and focus on their main job, and that is defeating the Ravens in Week 2.