A vintage performance was had by Aaron Rodgers on this season-opening Sunday.
Nonetheless, familiar as 364 yards passing and a four-touchdown showing are in his certain Hall of Fame career, Rodgers and the Packers’ 43-34 win over the host and NFC North-rival Vikings on Sunday was “one of the strangest experiences I’ve had in the NFL,” because it was played in front of no fans at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Across the NFL on its first Sunday of regular-season action in 2020, stands were empty or had limited attendance due to ordinances put in place to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
For Minnesota’s cozy confines to be silent was deafening for Rodgers.
There were no Viking-horned and bearded men (or ladies) shouting Skol and wishing Rodgers unwell.
“It doesn’t let you know that a play is a good play sometimes,” Rodgers said, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Ryan Wood.
Indeed, there were no cheers or jeers for Rodgers to play amid.
Nonetheless, as the Packers prevailed and the offense looked as good as it has in a while during a 43-point effort that was the early day’s high score, Green Bay and Rodgers were able to use the veteran quarterback’s thunderous hard count to keep the Vikings’ off-balance.
“It definitely benefited us from an offensive standpoint today in terms of being able to use that hard count,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said.
There’s bound to be advantages and disadvantages here and there, but every team is dealing with the new reality of playing sans fans or without anywhere near the packed houses that normally color autumn afternoons.
Green Bay will play its home opener at historic Lambeau Field with no fans against Detroit in Week 2 and once more, Rodgers’ count will roar loudly for those at the line and the fans’ silence will be deafening.