I doubt anybody reading this site foresaw a year ago that the world would be anything like it is right now, with social distancing having become the temporary norm and the Covid-19 pandemic seeping into just about every single aspect of our lives, in one way or another.
As readers of this site, we all have one thing in common, which is football. In that regard, we have been fortunate for the NFL to have been in its offseason while the coronavirus hit the United States hard, but it has certainly left its mark on the 2020 NFL Draft, and the pre-draft process. Still, the Pittsburgh Steelers are comfortable with how things have gone down.
“The prep has been great. We have absolutely no complaints”, he told reporters during the team’s pre-draft ‘press conference’. “It’s been different. We had three solid week of meetings with the coaches and the scouts. We’ve put our board together. We’re not sitting in a room, but we all can see a board, and it’s been great, no problems whatsoever”.
He talked about how the limitations of social distancing have forced teams to be creative and to evaluate their processes, and chooses to see how this all could make things better in the long run. He sees parallels in society as a whole.
“I think moving forward, we’re all gonna learn from this”, he said. “I think we’re gonna find ways, not only in football but in real life, we’re all gonna be a little more efficient in what we do. It was different, there was not question about it”.
“I’m usually optimistic”, he admitted, “and I try to look for positives within a situation. Not only the football world has been challenged, but the whole world’s been challenged, life in general in how we go about things, and priorities, and those types of things”.
One point that he mentioned multiple times is that, with the option of attending Pro Days taken away due to travel restrictions, the Steelers were able to immediately transition into virtual meetings with prospects.
“We were able to do this in a much more efficient manner”, the general manager said of those FaceTime meetings. “I think we were as thorough as we can be with as much information. Maybe we look at it and do it in a different manner. Do I have to fly the scouts in in February for preliminary meetings? Why can’t it just always be a conference like we just did? Is there a more efficient way rather than flying in 30 players to spend a day with you?”
“We get them on the phone and for 20 minutes, we can talk to him and get a lot of the same details as we could if we spent the day with him”, he added. “Of course, you can watch film with him if you use FaceTime. We chose not to do that. We just wanted to meet the player if we haven’t met him. Like I said, we got 37 visits done in a much more efficient manner, and cost-efficient manner, than we have in the past in having to fly people”.
If only we could all be as optimistic as Colbert. Optimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I don’t know if he will prove to be prophetic, but I do know one thing: we could come out of this the better for it as a society, if we actually put in the time and effort to re-evaluate how we live our lives, what we prioritize, and how we manage our communities, both locally and globally.