NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday he expects all 32 teams to play with "full stadiums" during the 2021 season.
"Football is simply not the same without the fans," Goodell said. "We expect to have full stadiums in the 2021 season.
Goodell's announcement comes following the league's decision to expand the regular season to 17 games. The preseason will now be trimmed to just three weeks. The additional regular-season game will pair teams across conferences in accordance with their 2021 record. For example, the Giants will now face the Dolphins in 2021 after finishing second in the NFC East and AFC East last season.
The NFL will likely need to receive approval from counties across the country to hold games with full stadiums in 2021. But as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues across the country, the NFL is likely to face far fewer restrictions compared to 2020.
The 2021 regular season is slated to kick off on Sept. 9. The 2021 season will conclude with Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022.