Super Bowl LV will be the final game of a 2020 season played amid the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone is looking forward to a day when the precautions and restrictions put in place over the last year are no longer necessary.
At NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s press conference on Thursday, he was asked if he anticipates the 2021 NFL season unfolding in a more normal fashion than the current one.
“I wish I knew the answer to that,” Goodell said. “One of the things that I have learned and all of us have learned is not to project too much in advance. . . . I don’t know when normal will occur again. I know this, we’ve learned to operate in a difficult environment and we’ll do it again.”
Among the changes to the 2020 season was the elimination of in-person offseason programs and preseason games. NFLPA president JC Tretter said at the end of the regular season that there is “no reason for us to ever return to the previous offseason program” and Goodell agreed that veterans may not get the same benefits from the previous program as older ones.
Goodell also said he believes “virtual is going to be a part of our lives” regardless of decisions about the kinds of in-person work that will go on in 2021 and into the future.
He was also asked a couple of questions about vaccines and whether unvaccinated players and/or fans would be allowed at NFL events. Goodell said again that it was too soon to have any firm answers to those questions, but did add that he’s hopeful that the vaccines will be part of the solution to a return to more normalcy in the NFL.