When it comes to the upcoming 2020 NFL season, I think a lot of people — namely the viewers — will be excited for some sense of normalcy when it comes to their daily lives.
For many, getting together with the family to cheer on your team every Sunday is something of a tradition for many week in and week out.
I don’t think, however, that fans should get entirely too comfortable with the idea of the NFL season going off without a hitch this season. It’s very likely that fans will not be allowed to attend NFL games at the beginning of the season.
Aside from fans, just look at the amount of people on the sidelines that aren’t players: cheerleaders, coaching staff, refs, game personnel, television crews. Now think about how often all of these people are six feet away from each other.
On Saturday, Dr. Anthony Fauci — Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as a lead member of President Trump’s Coronavirus Task force — warned in an interview with NBC Sports that an NFL game is the “perfect setup for spreading” coronavirus.
There’s 53 players on every single NFL team. I’d wager there’s at least 100 people combined in the other groups I mentioned earlier. Each game would have nearly 200 people working on it. Multiply that by 16 games a week and you can see where this is going.
Players and coaches will be the top priority as the league looks to cut down on the number of people not deemed “necessary” at each game. Is it feasible to test every single person involved in the NFL that is deemed necessary?
Yes, it probably is. But is that enough?
What you can’t control for is who the players, coaches and refs see after each game or practice. Family and friends live and interact with these people daily. Right now, it seems like the number of variables for this type of situation is through the roof.
How far does the testing extend for those interacting with anyone affiliated with the NFL? How often will players get tested themselves? Once one player tests positive after games have started, what’s the procedure for determining when they were infected and by whom? How does the entire League not grind to a halt right then and there?
It’s not unheard of that the coronavirus pandemic will look to be on the decline in the coming months. But as we’ve all heard, the chance for a second, more dangerous wave of the disease is something that can’t be ignored.
NFL owners will want their money and that means playing games on Sunday at any means necessary. But I’m not too convinced that player safety will be their top priority. When has it ever been?
Just last month, the NFL had their virtual draft where Roger Goodell announced picks from his home with no one else around him. Drafted players were all in their own homes, reacting to the news with their close family. Seeing things like that while also thinking things are going to be normal come September just doesn’t seem realistic to me.
Football and social distancing do not mix. That much is clear. It seems as though the League is moving full steam ahead towards the 2020 season, but I hope they have a backup plan for what to do if things go haywire.