NFL

Jerry Rice Says Playing with No Fans Could Present a Problem for NFL Players

San Francisco 49ers Hall-of -Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice knows a thing or two about playing football. Rice said this season could pose some problems for a few players in the NFL. With no fans, or very few at best, expecting to attend games this season, Rice said that could have an impact on some players.

Jerry Rice’s Hall-of-Fame career

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The San Francisco 49ers gambled on a young kid who played college football at Mississippi Valley State and it paid off. Jerry Rice was the 16th overall pick in the 1985 NFL draft. Rice went on to have a 20-year career in the NFL and become widely known as the greatest receiver ever.

Rice spent the first 16 years of his professional career with the 49ers. After a rookie season in which he started just four games, he took off in his sophomore season. In 1986, Rice tallied 1,570 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns, both of which led the league. He began a string of 10 straight Pro Bowl seasons, including five consecutive First Team All-Pro selections.

Twice, Rice was named the AP Offensive Player of the Year. Rice is a 13-time Pro Bowler and was named All-Pro in 10 seasons. He led the league in receiving yards six times. He was also tops in the NFL in touchdown receptions six times, including in 1987 when he hauled in a career-high 22 touchdown passes. Rice finished his career with 197 touchdown catches. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

Many NFL teams not allowing fans for at least their season opener

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has reshaped the way the NFL will look this year, especially off the field. Most of the teams – 24 total – will not be allowing fans to watch their home opener at the stadium. The Washington Football Team and the Las Vegas Raiders have said they won’t be having fans all season.

The Raiders are playing in Vegas for the first time this season. Team owner Mark Davis was looking forward to playing in the franchise’s brand-new 65,000-seat stadium. The Raiders, however, have decided to play it safe this season and play their games in the empty arena.

The Raiders sent a letter to season ticket holders explaining the situation. “While the current situation is not how any of us envisioned celebrating the opening of Allegiant Stadium, when circumstances permit we look forward to sharing an unparalleled GameDay Experience in the Magnificent Stadium you helped to build,” the letter read in part, according to USA Today.

Jerry Rice believes lack of fans will have an impact on players

During a recent interview with 95.7 The Game’s “The Morning Show,” San Francisco 49ers Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Rice spoke about playing in front of no fans. He was asked how difficult it would be for the players.

“It’s going to be real difficult,”Rice said. “We pretty much fed off the energy from the fans and just having them in the stands supporting us. It’s something that inspired me to want to play my best football. These players are going to have to adjust.

“What Kyle Shanahan is doing is they had a practice in Levi’s Stadium trying to get these guys sort of acclimated to fans not being there. As a professional athlete, once you put that uniform on, man, you’ve got to do your job. That’s the bottom line. It’s a different era, but these guys are professionals. They’re being paid a lot of money and their job is to go out and play their best football and win football games.