With a worldwide COVID vaccination program now underway, things are beginning to look up when it comes to the outlook for moving past the global pandemic. As a result of this positive outlook moving on from the spring to the summer, it’s also beginning to look and sound like the NFL will be getting back to allowing large amounts of fans to attend games in 2021.
On Thursday, Pittsburgh Steelers team president Art Rooney II shared his thoughts on the potential of fans being allowed to attend games at Heinz Field in 2021.
“I think we will,” Rooney told a fan of the team during a Thursday Steelers Nation Unite question-and-answer call. “I am kind of optimistic about it. It’s still early, it’s only March, so we’ll see how things go. I am optimistic we will have fans. Frankly I am optimistic we will have a full stadium by this fall.”
While Rooney is optimistic about fans being allowed back at Heinz Field in droves in 2021, he also wanted to send out a message about what people might want to think about doing in the next several weeks and months if they haven’t already done that one thing and that is getting vaccinated.
“Hopefully everybody is out there getting the vaccine and is going to be able to get in crowds and things like that again,” Rooney said. “Hopefully we are going to be back to pretty close to normal by the fall. Let’s all say our prayers and keep our fingers crossed. But I am optimistic about it at this point.”
Rooney admitted on Thursday that one of the toughest things he’s personally had to deal with during the pandemic was not having fans at games. He missed that quite extensively, he said.
“Having the games without fans was the toughest,” said Rooney. “Just being in the stadium without fans was strange, really weird. I think it did affect the players. I just hope we don’t have to go through that again, that is for sure.”
As already reported, Rooney is hoping that the Steelers can resume their annual training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe later this summer. while fewer fans might be let in if a return to Latrobe comes to fruition, it would still be a huge positive overall and another sign that normalcy is somewhat returning.
We’re still roughly five and half months away from the start of the 2021 NFL season and so assuming there isn’t any sort of pandemic resurgence and assuming the world-wide vaccination program remains on track, there’s no reason to think that Heinz Field won’t be back to full capacity at some point during the 2021 season if not by the start of it.