NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: ‘We expect to have full stadiums in the upcoming season’

Screenshot courtesy: TIME

The NFL is planning to welcome fans back for the 2021 season.

Commissioner Roger Goodell made the definitive statement during NFL owners meetings.

“We were discussing our plans to welcome back all of our fans for the 2021 season across the country at all NFL stadiums. We had 1.2 million fans safely attend games last year but all of us in the NFL want to see every one of our fans back. Football is simply not the same without fans and we expect to have full stadiums in the upcoming season,” Goodell said on a conference call.

“Many of our facilities are now being used, in the off-season, as mass vaccination sites. We have now surpassed 1.5 million doses administered at 18 different NFL stadiums and facilities across the country. The remaining stadiums have all offered to use their facilities and that is dependent on, obviously, local health officials and supplies. So, proud of the work our teams are doing across the country to try to get all of our citizens vaccinated.”

The United States is now administering an average of over three million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine each day.

Over 16 per cent of the adult population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with the top state, New Mexico, at over 23 per cent. Another 12 per cent of Americans have received their first dose of the vaccine.

The full schedule for the 2021 NFL season has yet to be released but is expected to begin on Thursday, September 9.

The CFL would be entering Week 14 of its schedule by that time with each team having played around twelve games. The season is currently slated to get underway on Thursday, June 10.

Vaccinations have taken longer to roll out in Canada but rates are quickly increasing. Less than 2 per cent of Canadians are fully vaccinated against the virus but over 12 per cent have received their first dose.

Canada is scheduled to receive 17.8 million Pfizer shots from April to June along with 12.3 million from Moderna and 3.4 million from AstraZeneca.

The CFL has spoken with a number of NFL teams about hosting fans amid the pandemic, which could lead to more fans being in the stands as the 2021 season approaches.