With the COVID-19 vaccine starting to make its way across the United States this week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday said that the league will not use its influence jump ahead in line with the Super Bowl less than two months away.
“We are not planning on any of our personnel being vaccinated in advance of the Super Bowl,” ESPN quoted Goodell as saying. “That’s obviously being done at higher levels and given priority to obviously health care workers, first responders and those that are in the riskiest state. We don’t fall into those categories, so we don’t anticipate that and we’re not planning for that.”
The timing is also significant in that Goodell spent Sunday at Tampa, Fla., taking in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Minnesota Vikings game at the site of Super Bowl LV scheduled for Feb. 7, 2021.
Though Florida is among the most aggressive states with respect to reopening public spaces amid the ongoing pandemic, Raymond James Stadium has been operating at 25-percent capacity on games days since Week 6.
As of Monday, Goodell said the league still does not have a capacity in mind the Super Bowl, saying the NFL is still evaluating what that number might be.
“We’re going to try to bring in as many fans as we can safely do into Raymond James Stadium,” Goodell said. “I’m not sure there is a specific number that we are confident saying, ‘This is what it will be,’ but obviously our focus will be on keeping them safe, whoever’s in.”
Goodell also said that the league still will adapt as the season progresses. The NFL has gone to great lengths — including altering schedules, playing games as late as a Wednesday and shifting bye weeks — to keep the season on track in order to play the Super Bowl on time.