The Times podcast: The NFL’s goal-line stand against COVID-19

SoFi Stadium Inglewood COVID-19
Fans at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers NFL teams.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Packed stadiums. Hard-fought games. Boisterous, mostly maskless fans. The National Football League kicked off its season this past weekend almost as if the coronavirus had never existed. But it didn’t get to this point by ignoring the pandemic — far from it. With careful planning and close attention to who in the league was getting sick, the NFL helped advance science and show us all how to live in a world with COVID-19.


Today, as the 2021 football season begins, we delve into the NFL’s coronavirus experiment: its successes, its failures and lessons for the rest of us.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times NFL reporter Sam Farmer

More reading:

The NFL had a secret COVID-19 plan. Here’s why the league didn’t need it

Five things we learned from behind-the-scenes look at the NFL’s COVID-19 season in 2020

Column: The NFL discovers how to trounce vaccine hesitancy

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producer Denise Guerra and producers Shannon Lin, Marina Peña and Melissa Kaplan. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our editors are Lauren Raab and Shani O. Hilton. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.