The NFL just informed clubs that if a game cannot be rescheduled during the 18-week season in 2021 due to a COVID outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team with the outbreak will FORFEIT and be credited with a loss for playoff seeding, per sources.
Here’s more from today’s memo, which also says the team responsible for a canceled game because of an outbreak among unvaccinated players/staff will be responsible for financial losses and subject to potential discipline from the commissioner. Wow.
The league intends to play its entire 272-game schedule over 18 weeks (17 games per club). And this is key:
"We do not anticipate adding a '19th week' to accommodate games that cannot be rescheduled within the current 18 weeks of the regular season."
The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to updated COVID-19 protocols for 2021 training camp and preseason, per source.
How different will life by for vaccinated and unvaccinated players? From the memo that just went to clubs:
Unvaccinated individuals -- including players -- also will be prohibited from gathering outside of the club facility or team travel, per the memo. This includes gathering for meetings, practices or training activities unless approved by the NFL and NFLPA.
Major developments for media: Fully vaccinated media will be permitted to conduct in-person interviews with players for the first time since early 2020. Unvaccinated media not allowed in press box, field, sidelines, locker room, etc.