MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands may be able to host fans this fall, meaning Jets and Giants fans could fill the stands for games.

According to Sports Illustrated, Governor Murphy hasn’t ruled out allowing spectators for the state’s two NFL teams, saying that the coaches, staff, and players have to be accommodated first, but, after that, “I think its too early to tell on fans.” The NFL has been the best positioned out of all the major sports leagues vis a vis the pandemic, since it hit during the football off-season, so the start of the season, as of now, has not been affected.

So, assuming COVID-19 cases keep declining, football in New Jersey might start on time. Governor Murphy told Sports Illustated, “I would love that, I mean I’m a huge sports fan. Jersey is a sports mecca and we have the rainbow of sports.” He did caution, however, “We’ll make the call based on what the data is telling us but I’d love to see us back in the full swing of sports.”

Obviously, social distancing requirements are going to have to be relaxed, if not totally lifted, before mass gatherings will be allowed. The NFL has been providing ongoing guidance to its clubs, including a memo of 6/8/20 spelling out what the requirements will be to fully open camps and facilities.

According to NFL.com, the guidelines are broken down into access, physical distancing, facility and equipment cleaning and disinfectant, food service, personal protective equipment and hygiene, compliance with protocols and education on the spread and prevention of infection.

Other sports are in various stages of returning, with the NBA announcing its return, the NHL releasing the framework of its return, and MLB embarrassing themselves with the usual billionaires vs. millionaires spat that is the hallmark of the league. Who knows when they’ll be back. Given the power and popularity of the NFL, its return will be a bellwether of the country’s recovery from the coronavirus.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.