Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL was unable to play its international games during the 2020 season. It was the first time since 2006 that the league did not play any games outside of the United States.
That will change this coming season with the United Kingdom seemingly getting a handle on the pandemic. With the 2021 NFL schedule set to be released here soon, the two international games in London have already been announced.
- New York Jets vs. Atlanta Falcons
- Miami Dolphins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The league is now looking to expand its international series to four games in time for the 2022 season. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport it would like to see Mexico and Germany host games in addition to the UK.
NFL international series and the China drama
This is interesting in that China has apparently been bypassed as an option to host a game in the short-term future. The league had in the past been pushing to expand its brand to communist country. Perhaps it’s politics or something else. But that’s not going to happen any time soon.
This comes at a time when the United States and others have threated to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in China due to human rights abuses.
The NFL and COVID-19
Teams around the league are fully expecting stadiums to be at capacity once Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season comes calling in September.
There’s some belief that this will in fact be the case with the United States seeing a downtick in COVID-19 cases and an uptick in vaccinations. As of May 11, nearly 47% of the qualified population (16-plus) have had at least one dose of the vaccine. Cases are at their lowest level since last August despite the fact that we’re seeing the economy open up throughout the country.
What does this mean for the 2021 NFL season? There shouldn’t be as many COVID-related issues as we saw during the 2020 campaign.
As for the United Kingdom, they join the United States as one of the most-vaccinated entities in the world. A total of 53% of their population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. This has led to confidence that the aforementioned two-game slate in London will take place without any issues.