Roger Goodell’s Plans To Have All NFL Teams Operate At Full Capacity Are Well On Stream
It remains to be seen how things will pan out in terms of fans turning up for NFL games during the upcoming season. The COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing after having shut all sports down for some time in 2020.
Fans were not allowed to return along with their teams but things have improved significantly in that aspect and commissioner Roger Goodell has said the stadiums should return to full-capacity hosting in 2021/22. The league was able to welcome a reasonable number of fans in to watch the Super Bowl in February but are aiming for a return to normalcy, or at least a semblance, next term.
Goodell made the announcement back in May and it should have come as very welcome news as many teams went the whole season without supporters, while others operated at a limited capacity, adhering to local and state guidelines. Fans in stands were required to wear masks and maintain distances. The Raymond James Stadium, which hosted the Super Bowl, wasn’t filled as it would have been for a normal championship affair. Instead, there were fans scattered among the many cardboard cutouts.
The league managed to get a total of 1.2 million fans in stadiums throughout 2020 – not bad considering the circumstances – but the aim is to have all stadiums filled for every game next season.
According to NFL Media’s Judy Battista, the commissioner revealed having spent lots of time discussing vaccines, among other important aspects of the NFL’s approaching return.
“Goodell said they spent a lot of time today talking about vaccines, especially education for all personnel — players, coaches, staff — to encourage all to get vaccinated,” she tweeted.
The league’s chief’s tone was said to be pretty optimistic ahead of the start of the inbound campaign. There is hope that fans, in general, could enjoy various spectator sports across the nation as they normally would due to the efforts to get as many people as possible vaccinated.
Of course, there’s still a lot of work to do when it comes to the administering of COVID-19 vaccines but there’s still plenty of time left between now and kickoff weekend. The NFL, like the NBA, did a great job of testing, distancing, and quarantining athletes who contracted the virus. The aforementioned leagues set the example for sporting bodies, with the NBA heading to a bubble to complete the 2019/20 season and then returning to arenas for the ongoing campaign. While a number of high-profile athletes have suffered serious injuries over the course of the season, COVID-19 was not as cumbersome as expected where pro basketball in America is concerned.
The NFL will look to take a leading role when it comes to sports returning to a point of normalcy. Goodell’s vision for full-capacity stadiums might not be realized this year, but it is certainly possible. In any case, fans will be able to take advantage of NFL odds as the games will go on.
All 32 of the NFL’s teams have been greenlit to welcome full crowds for home games next season. 30 teams had received approval by local authorities as of late last month but the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts took a bit longer. The Broncos received permission earlier this month and the Colts got theirs this Tuesday. The team’s Lucas Oil Stadium had fans attend games in a limited capacity last season.
“The Indianapolis Colts have been approved to host full capacity games at Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2021 season, team officials said today,” the team announced on Tuesday. “Normal capacity for Colts home games at the stadium is 63,000.
“The decision followed extensive consultation with the Marion County (Ind.) Public Health Department (MCPHD), which this week approved full capacity games to begin the season.
“As COVID-19 is still affecting the city and state, the club will continue to be vigilant about keeping fans safe and healthy, but most in-stadium protocols from last season will be relaxed or eliminated.”
Colts owner Jim Irsay has said he’s excited and looking forward to seeing a full stadium again.
“We were fortunate to be able to host fans in 2020 through the pandemic, and those fans were as loud and proud as ever,” he wrote in a statement. “But gamedays at Lucas Oil Stadium are like family reunions, and it wasn’t quite the same without our entire Colts family alongside us. So we can’t wait to open the stadium doors to all our fans so they can take this journey with us as we work to bring a Super Bowl title back to Indianapolis.”
The Colts have also announced plans to have fans in attendance for the summer training camp in Westfield, Indiana. There were no fans present at the last camp, which was held in Indianapolis.