The New England Patriots started off the post-Tom Brady era with a win on Sunday afternoon.
Bill Belichick’s team, led by former No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton at quarterback, defeated the Miami Dolphins, 21-11, at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots – and the rest of the NFL, besides the Jaguars – played in front of an empty home stadium in Week 1. Most of the NFL’s stadiums will be fan-less due to the pandemic.
Following the game, Belichick was asked about the quiet atmosphere by a reporter. His response was perfect.
“What was the atmosphere like in the stadium without fans there? Can you compare it to anything else you’ve experienced in your football career?” the reporter asked.
“Practice,” Belichick said bluntly.
This made me laugh out loud. pic.twitter.com/5PUiKPZGKy
— Mark Dondero (@MarkDondero) September 14, 2020
It’s a funny exchange, but the New England Patriots’ head coach isn’t wrong. For those inside the stadium, the atmosphere probably does feel like a practice or glorified scrimmage, at the most.
The games feel mostly normal watching on TV, though. The networks have done a good job of balancing the pumped-in fan noise.
New England will go on the road in Week 2 to face the Seattle Seahawks. That’s typically one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, but it’ll be much different this year.
Kickoff for that game is set for 8:20 p.m. E.T. on NBC.