‘We expect to have full stadiums’: NFL commissioner says they plan to welcome all fans back this season

Kansas City Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 19: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs takes the field before the AFC Championship Game against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is working on a plan for stadiums to allow 100% capacity of fans this upcoming season.

Goodell met with team owner’s on Tuesday where they voted to approve a 17-game regular season and discussed plans for the 2021 season.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 119 out of the 269 games including playoffs hosted any amount of fans in the stands, totaling 1.2 million. Goodell is optimistic that starting week 1 and all the way through Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, teams will welcome everyone back.

“We’re discussing plans to welcome back all fans across the country at all stadiums,” Goodell said. “All of us want to see every one of our fans back. Football is not the same without fans, and we expect to have full stadiums in the upcoming season.”

The league has not discussed specifics in their plans for fans, but did announce that their 2020 COVID-19 protocols will be in effect as organized team activities (OTAs) start on April 19.

Teams were not able to take part in in-person OTAs last season due to the pandemic.

NFL Medical Director Dr. Allen Sills was the head of the COVID-19 response in the 2020 season. Although the league does not plan to mandate vaccinations, he told owners that their focus in 2021 is educating players, personnel and staff about vaccines.

“We will be encouraging all personnel to get vaccinated and working with the players association on all these issues,” Sills said. “We are also using our platforms publicly to talk about the importance of getting vaccinations.”

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