Is the NFL Season in Jeopardy?
Updated: Apr 15
Silver Linings? Not exactly the best time to search for those, but since time is one thing we have quite a bit of right now, let's take a look around.
Everyone is searching, wishing and even praying for a silver lining these days.
Is there one? Can there even be one? Who knows, but it is not too soon to peek our heads around the corner to see if maybe, just maybe, something indicates that normalcy is not as far away as this hysteria suggests.
As Col. Jessep said in A Few Good Men, "You want the truth...You can't handle the truth." That may not be so far-fetched these days because perhaps a passionate Eagles fan base can not handle the truth at a time like this. If such a truth is that the 2020-21 NFL season is actually in jeopardy, well, we might just want to start preparing ourselves.
Most projections show that this virus will take several more months to ride out, so unless a magic vaccine shows up and is deployed before August 1st, we may be looking at a season in jeopardy. Would the league cancel it outright? Would they postpone it as long as possible? Would the NFL consider a season without fans? Further, think about the long term ramifications...timelines of contracts, the new CBA agreement and much more.
The league isn't there yet as far as having to make these decisions now. The NFL must now prepare for a season that will start on time. In doing so, it must now start making changes to offseason operations. Given the 12 to 18 month projection for the development of a vaccine, some owners recently said they do not expect to gather personnel together to begin training camp until at least later July at the earliest. That would already be pushing the league back a minimum of one month.
And for the NFL to play even one game, it needs to be able to welcome between 60,000 to 80,000 people into a stadium. It must be able to guarantee that every staff member and player can travel, collaborate and come into close contact without contacting and spreading the virus.
How could the league ever guarantee that type of safety by Labor Day? They could possibly watch China begin to move towards normalcy but that's about it.
One NFL executive recently said he did not see any way the league could avoid delaying the start of the season. Just the other day, ESPN football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said he would be shocked if we have college or NFL football this season.
I just heard that contingency plans are now being constructed. The NFL's chief medical officer is Dr. Allen Sills. He along with Dr. Thom Mayer, medical director of the NFL Players Association, are now in daily communication regarding the challenges ahead.
One idea being floated about is virtual offseason activities where coaches and players can hold position meetings and exchange playbooks remotely through the summer.
Word is that by early summer we will know if there is going to be an NFL season.
We are living in a realtime science fiction movie. Unfortunately, this is no sci-fi flick. This is real life, and the only thing any of us really know for sure right now is that we don't really know much of anything for sure.