GREEN BAY – It won't be just 6,000 season ticket holders thrilled about their chance to come to Lambeau Field next weekend.
The Packers are pretty fired up about it, too.
"We're really excited about that," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said Friday. "We're definitely going to feed off that energy, so if anybody's coming to the game, make sure you're nice and loud for us."
The Packers will host an NFC Divisional playoff game either Jan. 16 or 17. The opponent and specific day/time are still to be determined.
Lambeau Field hosted only a few hundred fans at each of the last four home games of the 2020 regular season, a mixture of team employees and their families, along with frontline health-care workers.
The 6,000 socially distant fans will fill roughly 10% of the main seating bowl, so it still won't feel anything like a normal home game, but the players will certainly take whatever they can get for in-stadium support.
"Football's not the same without the fans," said running back Jamaal Williams, who often chats with fans during pregame warmups and throws passes into the stands. "It's still fun to play football, but I feel like the excitement and some of the fun has been taken out just because that's what brings everybody together – the fans and the players – is the sport of football.
"I feel that's just something that we miss. You can really feel it in the stadium sometimes. We just love to have the fans there, just be out there making noise."
How much difference can 6,000 fans make? The Packers are going to find out, and they're confident the effort will be worth it.
"Oh, that's going to help out a lot," cornerback Chandon Sullivan said.
"This whole season, it's been pretty much a quiet stadium. Having as many fans as we can have is going to help. Hopefully, they can be loud and give us that momentum we need to win."
As team President/CEO Mark Murphy did, LaFleur acknowledged the decision to allow fans wasn't made on a whim. The health risks and protocols have been studied all season long, and the Packers have followed the guidance of local health-care experts.
Procedures have been announced to keep the environment safe, and tickets will go on sale Tuesday for the season ticket holders who opted in this summer for a chance to attend games.
As the No. 1 seed for the NFC playoffs, the Packers have home-field advantage as long as they're playing, so they would also host the NFC Championship Game should they win in the divisional round. That game would be played on Sunday, Jan. 24.
The Packers haven't been the conference's top seed since 2011 and haven't hosted an NFC title game for 13 years.
The opportunity is not lost on anyone, and adding fans for the playoffs will only help enhance the advantage of playing at Lambeau Field in January.
"I feel like our home-field advantage is really more," Williams said. "Most people's home-field advantage is just the fans and the fans alone, but ours is fans and the environment. We embrace the cold. We embrace the frozen tundra, and we want people to come here. We want them to come into this freezer and feel this.
"We know what type of place this place is and what type of environment, what type of weather and the fans that we have, so it's just going to be great."