For multiple reasons, the 2020 NFL season was unlike any other. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, teams could choose how many fans to have in their stadiums based off of city and state regulations. Baltimore chose not to have any fans at M&T Bank Stadium for the majority of the season, and that created some unique circumstances not only for the Ravens, but for other teams who didn’t have anybody in the stands as well.
One of the things that was most noticeable with limited or no fans in stadiums was the ability for players to hear what was being called at the line. For offensive players, they were able to hear the calls better, but for defenders they could sometimes make out the communication from the opposing offenses.
Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey recently made an appearance on “The Lefkoe Show” and told host Adam Lefkoe that when Baltimore played the Pittsburgh Steelers, at times he could hear what Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was saying to his wide receivers.
While Humphrey said that Pittsburgh didn’t throw at him on the plays that he heard Roethlisberger calling out routes, it still might not have been believable to him at first due to the fact that things like that normally don’t happen on the field. With fans in the stands, it would have most likely been far too loud to even attempt to decipher what an opposing offense was communicating.
It was probably a shock to some players to be able to hear calls so clearly at the line, both their own and the opponents. With many stadiums across the league now planning for increased or even full capacity, moments like Humphrey experienced aren’t going to be as common in future years.