The NFL Has Returned After A 214-Day Break. As COVID-19 Rises, The NFL Opens To Sold-Out Stadiums.
The last time we witnessed an NFL game that mattered was on February 7th, when Tom Brady led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory in Tampa.
As it turns out, not much has changed since the game the night before. The NFL began its most important season – teams will play a 17-game schedule — with no capacity restrictions, following the NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA, and other leagues in opening their doors to sold-out stadiums. TAMPA-For the first time since COVID-19 upended the globe and changed the way sports were watched, Tom Brady calmly ran out of a smoke-filled tunnel, leading the reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers onto the field against the Dallas Cowboys in front of a full crowd on Thursday night.
Despite the fact that there were no limits in place during the preseason, stadiums were not totally full because many spectators chose to skip exhibition games. But the situation was different at Raymond James Stadium, as over 60 thousand people gathered to observe the Buccaneers celebrate their triumph before beginning their title match.
During a brief pre-game ceremony, owner Bryan Glazer reminded the shouting fans, “We made NFL history seven months ago.” “One thing was missing: all of you and this time “Raymond James Stadium welcomes you back!”
Thousands of spectators gathered outside the stadium before the game to eat, drink, and take in the ambiance while waiting for the gates to open. After that, the gathering proceeded inside.
Various stadium policies and protocols may apply to different NFL teams. To be present, the Seattle Seahawks fans must present proof of immunization, Las Vegas Raiders, and the Saints of New Orleans. Along the journey, other teams may decide to join them.
The league does not require players to obtain vaccines but strongly encourages them to do so, with serious consequences for those who do not.93.5 percent of players are vaccinated going into the season opener. Seventeen clubs have a winning percentage of more than 95 percent, with the Buccaneers and Falcons both at 100 percent.
Unvaccinated players are tested on a daily basis and must adhere to strict guidelines. Players who have been fully immunized are now tested weekly rather than every 14 days as they were throughout training camp.
The NFL Players Association wants to test fully immunized players on the COVID-19 daily, but the league does not yet need it.