The National Football League is counting down the days until its 2021 season kicks off, with excitement for a fall that won’t be influenced nearly as much by the COVID-19 pandemic. With vaccination rates rising across the United States, the NFL could create new incentives to encourage players to get vaccinated.
Coming off a season that saw the league lose $4 billion in revenue due to the pandemic, commissioner Roger Goodell and league officials are determined to regain a sense of normalcy. The upcoming season will begin to approach that, with teams increasing their stadium capacity and loosened restrictions for fully vaccinated fans.
While games were still played during the pandemic, it also came at a cost to players and coaches. Strict COVID-19 protocols restricted travel, required everyone inside team facilities to wear masks and countless players were sidelined after either testing positive or due to being deemed a high-risk, close contact.