NFL Teams Cleared To Reopen Facilities Next Week, With Conditions

A man walks by Empower Field at Mile High, the empty home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos. David Zalubowski/AP/Shutterstock

Are you ready for some football? Not just yet, but the NFL has given the green light its teams to reopen their facilities — assuming they meet a number of criteria.

Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams’ top officials today that says: “Clubs may reopen their facilities beginning on May 19 if they are permitted to do so under governing state and local regulations, are in compliance with any additional public health requirements, and have implemented the protocols that were developed by Dr. [Allen] Sills and distributed to all clubs on May 6.”

The memo was obtained and reprinted by NFL insider Ian Rappaport:

The NFL is America’s only major pro sports league not to be disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak, which took hold in the U.S. in the week after Super Bowl 53 in early February. But the start of its 2020 season, set to kick off on September 10, might be in jeopardy depending on how quickly and completely cities and state reopen after two months in lockdown.

More clear is the likelihood that its games — especially in the preseason, which begin in earlnest on August 13, a week after the annual Hall of Fame Game — will go on with fans in attendance. Joe Buck, the lead play-by-play announcer for Fox’s NFL coverage, said this week that his network will deploy recordings of crowd noise and fake images of people if real fans aren’t allowed to attend.

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