Optimism grows for full NFL stadiums in 2021

NFL: OCT 07 Browns at 49ers
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As the nation begins to make real progress when it comes to beating back the pandemic, the National Football League has a growing sense of optimism that stadiums will be full during the 2021 season.

From the availability of vaccines to signs of potential herd immunity, some believe that, by Memorial Day, the tide will have turned dramatically. Then, by Labor Day, the question becomes whether pro football will be able to pack its venues.

As noted on Sunday, salary-cap calculations are proceeding under the assumption that the league will have 75-percent attendance in 2021.

Many factors will influence the ultimate reality. First, people need to welcome the opportunity to be vaccinated against the virus. As more and more and more people are getting it, tales of serious reactions or other complications are becoming extremely rare. Second, political winds need to change in states where extreme caution has been the prevailing view since last March.

There’s nothing wrong with extreme caution. At some point, however, extreme caution becomes counterproductive — especially as evidence mounts that we’re collectively getting the situation under control. For the NFL, a lingering political reluctance to return to normal (even if the circumstances justify it) could result in, for example, full stadiums in states like Florida and Texas but far fewer fans in California, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Again, much could change between now and Memorial Day and much will then change between Memorial Day and Labor Day. As the one-year anniversary of our upside-down reality approaches, it’s entirely possible that, within six months, many things could be rightside-up.

It’s far from automatic, however. People need to keep wearing masks. People need to welcome the opportunity to be vaccinated. If that happens — and if the FDA will get the Johnson & Johnson single-stick vaccine finally approved — things could possibly get on the right track.

32 responses to “Optimism grows for full NFL stadiums in 2021

  1. Things are definitely trending in the right direction, especially with all of the evidence showing the vaccines are extremely effective. I just hope state and local governments will view full stadiums rationally and keep in mind the economic damage from unnecessarily keeping things closed. A lot of people and businesses depend on people attending games for their livelihood.

  2. The stadiums should be full provided that everybody keeps being careful and gets the vaccine when it’s their turn. Please Washington get a real team nickname. Go with Washington Sentinels!!!

  3. Well we can choose to fly on a full airplane or go to full walmarts – so why cant we choose to go to a full stadium?

  4. Before we get all excited we are going to have to see how the vaccine works with these mutations they are finding. It would be nice though.

  5. I have not had the desire to sit in a stadium in 10 years. The ticket prices, parking nightmares, and drunks have steered me clear of the “fan” experience.

  6. Fauchi has another new title, “king controller of the NFL”. If he says no, that’ll mean no!

  7. I am hopefully optimistic. I’m not talking about football. That’s on the back burner for me. I mean in trying to slow down and then beat this pandemic. 1 million doses of the vaccine a day, and rising? That gives me great hope for this summer, and certainly for September and beyond.

  8. 50Stars says:
    February 22, 2021 at 9:56 am
    Well we can choose to fly on a full airplane or go to full walmarts – so why cant we choose to go to a full stadium?
    Walmart is not a good analogy, as you don’t spend 3 hours sitting next to other people. As for your airplane analogy, you shouldn’t be choosing to fly. Not yet. Unless you’re vaccinated. However, airlines are allowing it, while some other companies do not allow.

  9. 50Stars says:
    February 22, 2021 at 9:56 am
    Well we can choose to fly on a full airplane or go to full walmarts – so why cant we choose to go to a full stadium?


    Probably because it’s not a choice to go on a plane for many people (who have to travel for work, family emergencies, etc.) or to go to Wal-Mart (in some cases, the closest option for groceries or things needed for daily living), but very few “have” to be in a stadium.

    I fully hope circumstances are good enough to have full stadiums by this fall, but even I can see the difference between having to fly or go into a store and attending a
    sporting event. If you can’t, perhaps it’d be good to be a bit more critical about the agenda of those who are trying to sell these comparisons to you to begin with.

  10. Be courteous, wear a mask, practice social distancing, get vaccinated if possible and available……and you might get to go to a stadium in the near future. Throw a temper tantrum and cry like raging children about your freedoms…and you won’t. Either way, you control your own narrative.

  11. And it should if you “follow the science”. Given the availability of vaccines (two now and J&J and AZ in the wings) and the number of people who have gotten or will contract COVID (don’t need a vaccine) herd immunity will come faster than you think. Plus, studies have show football games not to be “super-spreader events” that the media depicted.

  12. Spring is coming and Covid is going. Stadiums will allow full occupancy but not sure the demand will be there. More exciting to go to half empty baseball stadium’s over the summer and enjoy a game in socially distanced ballpark.

  13. Living in Canada, the first 6 months of the pandemic had me often thinking to myself “at least I don’t like in America.” Fast forward to a year later and we are on complete shutdown, have major bottlenecks in our vaccine pipeline (meaning that our federal government for whatever reason, cannot secure shipments) with no end in sight, and with the “case numbers” nowhere near some of the alarming highs experienced in the U.S. To read that full football stadiums are a distinct possibility in ’21 brings me so much joy, and also sadness because I know that we will be kept under lock and key for as long as our federal government decides to keep us under lock and key. I am truly happy that our neighbours down south are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

  14. Once you get the 2nd dose of the vaccine you receive a Covid 19 Vaccination Record Card showing what vaccine you received, your name, date of birth, and date of both vaccinations. Both vaccinations show a medical professional signature as well. Anybody who has this card and a matching ID “should” be able to attend any sporting event, indoors or outdoors, as long as said person continues to wear a mask.

  15. Yet again the NFL lies and misleads. We are being told to double mask through 2021.

    The greed is just astounding.

  16. joshgordonsbong says:
    February 22, 2021 at 10:51 am
    every thing i’ve seen says 22 will be the year it gets back to normal
    You’re “Seeing” the wrong information

  17. Judging by comments on this site, no one is watching NFL games any more and can’t afford to go to games in person.
    Just how are they going to fill up those stadiums?

  18. I’m not a big go to the games guy. But I’ll make a point to go to one when we are clear of this crap.

  19. Kind of pointless to close the stadiums if every state and even cities within states were going to have their own rules. This lockdown stuff only works when applied uniformly. We took the every state does what it wants approach. Still many dead and economic losses. Should have kept it open and if you have the courage to attend a game then go for it.

  20. Didn’t watch a game this past season and didn’t miss it. The NFL is about dead due to allowing it self to be political. If it gets the politics out I might start to watch again.

  21. You think the government is just going to willingly give you your freedom back? Talk about naive.

  22. Full mask compliance and enforcement, or fill it with anti-maskers only. One or the other. Science over opinion.

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