The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How much of an impact is the coronavirus going to have on the entirety of the 2020 NFL calendar year?
The NFL is fortunate right now to be the only major professional sports league that is in an official offseason right now, because it’s certainly looking as though all of the other ones are going to be slowly forced into a hiatus. NBA officially announced that it is suspending the remainder of the season. The NHL is likely to follow as early as today, and really, how far behind can the MLB be? Too bad for the XFL though.
The NFL doesn’t have to take the field for another five months, and they will obviously hoping that, by then, the COVID-19 outbreak will be very much contained and we will go on to live our lives as normal. Right now, we are entering a period, first, of voluntary social distancing, and if that doesn’t work, we may soon find it mandatory.
The league recently said that plans for the annual league meetings and the draft are in place for now, but that can change quickly, and I think many are expecting that it will. The draft is about five or six weeks away, and the number of cases is going to skyrocket by then as the US only now begins a more widespread testing phase.
Could the league even consider delaying the official start of the new league year, and truncating the offseason, or canceling parts of it, like OTAs? Will we suffer through another ‘coronavirus’ season during the actual football part of the calendar? It’s not expected that a vaccine will be prepared by then, and there are already fears of what may come down the road.