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The 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland will have 50,000 fans in attendance next work, the league announced on Friday. That makes this the largest gathering of football fans since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is welcome news, as it proves we are one step closer to getting things back to normal.
The decision to allow such a large number of fans wasn’t made without plenty of research conducted by the NFL.
“We know [COVID-19] pandemic is still out there and that guides our every move, but we want to be able to point to brighter days ahead,” NFL executive vice president of events Peter O’Reilly told reporters on a conference call, via UPI.com. “We have every confidence in our protocols that are in place. We learned so much from what we did at the Super Bowl, where we were able to do a free, outdoor Super Bowl Experience.
“We have very clear data working with our partners to show that our events did not cause any spread during the season, and we have that confidence here. Those protocols are very real and very enforced. So critical is the mask-wearing, and that will be heavily enforced throughout the draft.”
Last year’s virtual draft was incredible, considering the timing. Even though it was all virtual, things felt normal for at least a few days. Now things look like they’ll be even better on the draft front, as we’ll see fans, players and media members all in attendance.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.