COVID-19 vaccine rollouts are occurring throughout North America and offering hope that at least some aspects of life may return to normal before the end of the year.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the NFL now "has a growing sense of optimism" that stadiums could be filled to their capacities during the 2021 regular season. Florio's story follows comments made by Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker last week that suggested the league is moving forward with plans for a full stadium for the Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers scheduled for Aug. 5.
Baker added at that time that he believes the NFL Draft set to occur in downtown Cleveland from April 29 through May 1 will "probably be 50% virtual and 50% in person."
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci told ESPN's Buster Olney last week that he thinks paying spectators could be able to safely attend MLB games this year. "That we could have people in the stands, maybe not right next to each other; there are going to be public health restrictions like mask-wearing and things like that," Fauci explained.
Florio noted the NFL situation, like most things these days, is fluid and can change seemingly in an instant. While NFL owners and executives may feel optimistic about the idea of having full stadiums come September, that optimism understandably comes with a decent amount of caution.