The Mercedes-Benz Superdome won't be crammed to the rafters with fans Sunday when the New Orleans Saints (6-2) host San Francisco (4-5), but the 6,000 who will be in attendance absolutely will make a difference.
The Saints, winners of five straight and sitting atop the NFC South Division, had 3,000 fans in attendance for their last home game, a 27-24 victory over Carolina on Oct. 25. And with that crowd having made an impact, the same is expected of this one, which will represent the 73,000 who normally attend.
"Our last home game, we noticed the difference from the very beginning (of the season), where it was completely sterile," Saints Coach Sean Payton said. "As we progress through the season and continue to have more fans, we certainly appreciate it and feel the difference. There's just such a passion with our fan base that that little bit matters."
Players also noted the noise level and support for the Carolina game, and welcome more for the rest of the season.
"It's an advantage," left tackle Terron Armstead said. "It's an advantage, we love them. We love to have fans in there, the energy (they bring). We need every one of them.
"And it's great to double that number from last (home game). At some point it even kind of got loud. So it'll be great to have more, more fans. And more and more as they get going."
With continued adherence to Covid-19 guidelines and trends remaining stable, the Saints also expect to welcome 6,000 fans for the Nov. 22 game against Atlanta in the Superdome. Capacity then would increase to 15,000 fans for the Dec. 20 game against Kansas City and the Christmas Day game against the Vikings.
New Orleans Saints fans and cheer on the team from inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Carolina Panthers in Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season.