On Wednesday, the National Football League confirmed reports when it released a statement mandating that fans wear masks if they attend NFL games this season, in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.
In a tweet he posted on Wednesday, NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy said, “For those wondering, yes, it is league-wide: fans at NFL games this season will be required to wear face coverings.”
The NFL has not mandated any leaguewide policy on allowing fans into games. Instead, the league is leaving the decision to each team based on varying local mandates. Teams such as the New York Jets, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Raiders, and Los Angeles Rams have previously stated there is a small likelihood, if any, that fans attend games. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons recently discussed plans of allowing 10,000 to 20,000 fans to attend games, while the Pittsburgh Steelers said it would require fans to wear face masks if game attendance is permitted.
The NFL season is scheduled to kick off at 7:20 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 with a matchup between the visiting Houston Texans and the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, an AFC Divisional Round rematch from the 2019-20 postseason. In that game, the Chiefs overcame a 24-0 deficit, and MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes carried his team to a 51-31 comeback win at Arrowhead Stadium over the Dashaun Watson-led Texans.