New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 13: A view of New England Patriots helmets before the game between the Patriots and the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

With many states – including Massachusetts – set to remove their COVID-19 restrictions and reopen, the question of full stadiums as been a common one. As it turns out, the NFL is preparing for more than just full buildings on Sundays.

According to NFL Network’s Judy Battista, 30 of the NFL’s 32 teams have been approved for full capacity stadiums for Week 1 of the preseason (with Indianapolis and Denver still going through the process). In addition, NFL Executive Vice President of Club Business & League Events Peter O’Reilly has informed teams they can host fans for training camp practices.

While the news about stadiums is very welcomed, it was somewhat expected. Teams have been hosting fans in limited capacity since last winter, with 25,000 fans attending the Super Bowl in Tampa. But with teams beginning their 2021 spring practices under last year’s protocols, training camp felt more unsure.

There will also be a later start to camp this year, under the new CBA. In the past few years, training camp practices would begin on the last Thursday in July. This year, most camps will start on Saturday July 31, per Battista, with veterans reporting on July 27.

For both games and practices, stadiums will follow local guidelines when it comes to mask mandates, social distancing, and vaccine requirements. The Patriots first home preseason game is their opener, set for August 12 against the Washington Football Team.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.