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Saquon Barkley: “It felt like practice” without fans in stands

Giants get first experience playing in empty stadium

NFL: New York Giants Blue-White Scrimmage Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The only people in the stands at MetLife Stadium during Friday night’s New York Giants Blue-White Scrimmage were a handful of socially-distanced media members in Section 249 who chose to get out of the press box and enjoy a warm, breezy evening.

There was hype music, the public address system announced the results of each play as it always does, there was some piped in crowd noise. It was, though, a football team playing in an 82,500-seat stadium with only a handful of media members, team employees and stadium workers to witness it.


“It kind of felt like practice,” said Saquon Barkley. “I think that’s kind of going to be the vibe for the season. Hopefully, we’re able to find something that we would be able to bring fans back by the end of the season. But that’s the way it’s going to be. It felt like practice. You go out there with your teammates, you have music going, you go out there and you just try to get better.”

Players will tell you when you ask them that once they get into the flow of a game they don’t notice the fans. But, they do. Good or bad.

“Obviously, there’s no fans there. It’s definitely going to be different. Anytime you make that big play and you hear those fans roar, you get that energy from them also. Fans do play a big part in a game, especially for me, coming from Penn State and coming to New York. For me personally, I’ve always had great fans. But now, you have to find that spark in yourself,” Barkley said. “To be honest, that’s why you do it. You love this game. You wake up every single day and be able to play the game you love since you were a little kid. So, go out there and have fun with it, whether there are fans or not.”

Fans won’t be in attendance at MetLife when the Giants open the season on Monday, Sept. 14th against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They may not be able to attend a Giants home game all season.

“Whatever the circumstances are and however it feels on game day, I think we’ll be ready to go. It’s certainly different, like you said. Different than last year, but I think we’ll be ready to go,” said quarterback Daniel Jones. “I think guys will understand … guys will be ready to go [for the opener]. It’ll be a big opportunity to get out and play. Guys will be excited and ready to go. I know we’ll be ready going into it.”