Even after this past year's difficulties, the NFL will see more changes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Football teams must brace for new league rules that will impact the upcoming NFL season. The new regulation states that teams will forfeit a game if a COVID-19 outbreak affects their ability to play due to unvaccinated players. Their team will thus have "lost" the game while their opponents would have "won" the game.

These changes come with the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine. Now that it is readily available, all kinds of organizations, sports teams, and governments are resuming normal operations, with the mask mandate being lifted in numerous counties and states. It seems the NFL league is expecting the prospect of vaccinations to help the continuation of regular NFL seasons.

The league has notified all 32 of its clubs of this new rule change. The rule stems from 2020's NFL season, during which game delays and rescheduling were abundant due to COVID-19 outbreaks among clubs and players. With some key players out for a game, the win-loss records and competition seemed to be jaded.

On top of forfeiting a game, the NFL league has stated teams must compensate for any financial losses, including cancellation contests, players not being paid on either team and other fines. Unvaccinated players will be banned for 10 days if they test positive, while vaccinated players who test positive can return after testing negative 24 hours apart. 

The NFL league released all this information in a memo that stated, "If a club cannot play due to a Covid spike in vaccinated individuals, we will attempt to minimize the competitive and economic burden on both participating teams... Every club is obligated under the Constitution and Bylaws to have its team ready to play at the scheduled time and place. A failure to do so is deemed conduct detrimental. There is no right to postpone a game."

At this time, up to 50% of all players have been vaccinated. Some are still debating as to whether receive the vaccine. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals said via Twitter, "Never thought I would say this, But being put in a position to hurt my team because I don't want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the @Nfl."

Overall, the new rules will implement a more assertive stance on the upcoming NFL season.

The released memo has ultimately said, "These operating principles are designed to allow us to play a full season in a safe and responsible way and address possible competitive or financial issues fairly."

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