Carson Enos '22
This past Thursday fans found themselves waiting for the much-anticipated start of the new 2021 NFL season. The home opener for the defending Superbowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers occurred Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys to kick off the 102nd NFL season. However, the NFL’s main opponent remains covid-19.
The NFL is committed this season more than ever to protecting their fans and their players after a mini outbreak of covid occurred on the Tennessee Titans team. According to the NFL “More than 99% of league and team staff are vaccinated.” The NFL is adding fines in place for players who disobey their covid mandates and could even threaten forfeits for teams that don’t follow their rules. Experts expect more positive cases this season even among vaccinated players to rise.
With the start of the new season many teams are allowing for the first time since the 2020 season full occupancy at their stadiums as long as a fan has proof of vaccination or a negative covid test. Previously teams were on their own to decide if they wanted fans at their stadium and many of the teams chose to have no fans at all. With no fans in attendance, it cost the NFL nearly four billion dollars in lost revenue.
On Sunday, hordes of fans were seen cheering on their favorite team after most had to watch the 2020 NFL season from their living rooms. Sports betters also came ready for the new NFL season as “45.2 million Americans are estimated to bet on the games with 19.5 million bets placed online” according to the American Gaming Association.
With the new NFL season back in full swing, teams are just as excited to see their returning fans as the fans are to see just to be able to see their favorite team play in person again.