Every NFL team will offer their stadium as a possible mass vaccination site to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a letter to President Biden. The move would expand an effort that currently includes seven teams.
Each team "will make its stadium available for mass vaccinations of the general public in coordination with local, state, and federal health officials," Goodell wrote in the letter, which was sent on Thursday. The effort would be helped, he said, by the experience the teams already have with transforming parts of their facilities into coronavirus testing sites.
The NFL has 32 teams, but the offer comprises 30 stadiums, because pairs of teams share facilities in both New York and Los Angeles.
Other sports have taken similar actions. Last month, the Los Angeles Dodgers converted their stadium from a mass coronavirus testing site into a vaccination center. And on Friday, the New York Yankees opened a vaccination site at their stadium in the Bronx. A similar plan for the New York Mets' stadium has been stalled by a shortage of available vaccine doses, as the Gothamist website reports.
Some colleges have also made their stadiums available for use as vaccination sites, including the University of Michigan and the University of Kentucky. When reached for comment on Friday, the NCAA said that such decisions are up to each college.
The NFL recently celebrated making it through 256 regular season games without any cancellations, although health and safety protocols forced a number of games to be rescheduled. Early in the season, the league also called off its Pro Bowl game, which has no bearing on team standings.
The NFL teams that have already made room at their stadiums for vaccination centers include:
- Arizona (State Farm Stadium)
- Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
- Baltimore (M&T Bank Stadium)
- Carolina (Bank of America Stadium)
- Houston (NRG Park)
- Miami (Hard Rock Stadium)
- New England (Gillette Stadium)
Goodell's offer comes as the NFL prepares for its Super Bowl championship on Sunday. The football game at Tampa Bay's Raymond James Stadium will have some 25,000 fans in attendance, including 7,500 vaccinated health care workers who were invited two weeks ago.