TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — When Tom Brady runs out from the tunnel, screaming "Let's Go!" and leading the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers onto the field against the Dallas Cowboys, a full stadium will greet players for the first time since COVID-19 upended the world and changed the way sports were viewed.
Fans return as COVID-19 surges.
The delta variant is filling hospitals, children are getting sick and some schools are abruptly switching back to remote learning because of outbreaks.
The U.S. death toll stands at more than 650,000, with one major forecast model projecting it will top 750,000 by Dec. 1 - deep into the NFL season.
With the new season kicking off Thursday, some clubs will have strict COVID restrictions in place.
The Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Raiders, and New Orleans Saints will require fans to provide proof of vaccination to enter, the Associated Press reported.
Fans heading to Raymond James Stadium won't get their temperatures checked and won't be required to wear masks.
Although the league hasn't mandated teams to receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot, 93.5% of players are vaccinated, the AP reported, with 17 teams, above the 95% mark.
Everyone on the Buccaneers and Falcons has been fully vaccinated.