The 2021 NFL season begins in five months. When it comes to the pandemic, a lot can and will happen between now and then. And there continues to be a belief that, by September, NFL teams will be able to host full stadiums of fans.
“Once vaccines have been available in a community for a long enough period of time where anyone who’s wanted one could’ve gotten it and reached two weeks past their second shot, just to take the outlying point, then I don’t know why you shouldn’t be at full capacity,” Patriots president Jonathan Kraft, who also serves as chair of the Massachusetts General Hospital Board of Trustees, said late last week at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, according to the Boston Globe (via NBC Sports Boston). “It’s sort of intellectually dishonest to say we’re going to be at a quarter percent of capacity even though theoretically you have herd immunity in the local population. At some point you have to get back to living your lives.”
Kraft’s comments capture the potential tension between medical realities and political sensitivities come September. In some states, the doors to sports venues will be thrown open. In others, they won’t be — regardless of whether they should be.
Come September, the relevant medical experts will be making decisions in every state and locality where the NFL does business. Hopefully those decisions will be made based solely on the prevailing science, whatever it may be after five more months of vaccinations and other developments.
Even more hopefully, people will continue to get vaccinations. That’s one of the key steps toward finally turning the page on COVID-19 and moving forward in ’21 and ’22.