WASHINGTON — The Washington Football team will be making its first playoff appearance in five years on Jan. 9, but fans will not be at FedExField to witness the moment. The team announced Monday that it would continue its policy of not allowing fans at games during the playoff run due to COVID restrictions.
"Following continued restrictions from the state of Maryland and Prince George's County regarding limitations on gatherings due to COVID, we are not able to have fans attend our upcoming playoff game on January 9th at FedExField," the team said in a statement. "Our entire team, especially our players, will miss having our passionate fans in the stadium as we take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We are grateful for the support from our community and encourage everyone to stay safe."
Washington made the decision in August that it would play its 2020 season without fans in attendance, "out of an abundance of caution."
"We are fortunate to host the best fans in the NFL year after year, but the well-being of those supporters, along with that of our players, coaches and each and every member of our gameday staff is simply too important, and the current knowledge of COVID-19 too unpredictable, to welcome our fan base to FedExField to start the season," owner Dan Snyder said in a statement.
But at the end of October, Washington announced that it would start to let fans come to games. Only one game was played in front of fans, however, as approximately 3,000 fans were permitted to attend an NFC East divisional game against the Giants on Nov. 8. Then on Nov. 16, the Washington Football Team announced that it would not let fans into FedEx Field for its home game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 22.
The team played its final two home games of the regular season -- against the Panthers and the Seahawks -- without fans.
Washington last made a playoff appearance in 2015, but the team hasn't pulled off a playoff win since 2005. They are only the third team in NFL history to make the playoffs with a losing record, save for the shortened 1982 season.