Coronavirus: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says league won’t jump queue for vaccine

The NFL will not use its influence to jump the queue for the coronavirus vaccine, the league’s commissioner Roger Goodell said on Monday.

With the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine making its way across the United States this week, Goodell has downplayed the prospect of anyone in the league being prioritised over more vulnerable groups.

His comments come 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,” Goodell was quoted by ESPN.

“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.”

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Goodell spent Sunday in Tampa, Florida, taking in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ game against the Minnesota Vikings in the stadium where Super Bowl LV is scheduled for February 7, 2021.

Raymond James Stadium has been operating at 25 per cent capacity on gamedays since week six but Goodell said the league still does not have a capacity in mind for the Super Bowl.

“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 will continue to 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 amid the threat of coronavirus.

Colts lower capacity for Texans game

The Indianapolis Colts will allow 10,000 fans to attend Sunday’s home game against the Houston Texans.

The number is a reduction from the 12,500 the team has permitted over its previous four home games and comes after a spike in coronavirus cases throughout the state of Indiana, with Indianapolis hit especially hard.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, our top priority has always been to protect the health and safety of our fans, players and staff,” Colts chief operating officer Pete Ward said in a statement on Monday.

“We have taken extraordinary steps to keep people safe in the stadium this year, and along with our partners at the health department, we believe this is right thing to do to help limit the spread of the virus in the greater community.”

The Colts hosted 2,500 fans in their 28-11 victory over Minnesota on September 20 and 7,500 a week later in a 36-7 win over the New York Jets. Lucas Oil Stadium has a seating capacity of 67,000 for NFL games.

The team has not announced a planned capacity for its final regular season home game against Jacksonville on January 3.

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