The Broncos announced Friday that they will not host fans for the Sept. 14 home opener against the Tennessee Titans.
In a statement, the Broncos said they remain “hopeful that we can host a limited number of fans on a gradually increasing basis beginning early this season.”
The Broncos host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 28, but then have three weeks until their next home game (Oct. 18 vs. Miami).
“It’s disappointing,” coach Vic Fangio said after practice. “I watch a lot of sports and it’s just not the same without fans there. It isn’t. I’ve always known fans to be a big part of pro sports in particular and we’re going to miss our fans. They give us a great boost and advantage at home and we love playing in front of them and there’s a love affair between the fans and players and team.
“Hopefully at some point here, we can keep doing the job with COVID(-19) that we’re doing in the NFL and eventually get some fans in there.”
The Broncos said their decision was made after “working in collaboration with the state and with safety as the top priority.”
“We will continue to work closely and in collaboration with the state to determine the next steps, ensuring we are doing our part to protect the health of our fans and community,” the Broncos said.
The Broncos join nearly half the NFL in announcing they won’t have fans to begin the season or for the entire season.
“It’s definitely a bummer to me,” right tackle Elijah Wilkinson said. “(The fans) get me amped. I love going into Mile High and 70,000 strong are loud, especially when the defense is on the field. There’s nothing like it. It will definitely be a little bit different, but it’s the times we’re in and it’s something we have to deal with until things get better with our nation.”