The biggest question hanging over the Pittsburgh Steelers’ heads this year is whether or not quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is going to be able to return to the field and play the way that he is expected to play. But there is a far more significant question lingering over the entire league: will there even be a season?
That question has been pondered for months now as the Covid-19 pandemic really began to spread and forced entire nations to shut down, including, naturally, any sports league that was in-season. The NBA had to stop a game just before tipoff after a player tested positive in the locker room. That’s when the reality set in for a lot of people.
Daily new cases and deaths around the country remain high, though potentially finally trending down. There were fewer than 20,000 reported new days yesterday for the first time since March, and the death toll of the past two days combined—1758—is lower than the daily average through the month of April. So there is good news, if not cautious.
But so much can still happen over the next few months. That was basically the message of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Health for over 35 years. Peter King of Football Morning in America recently interviewed him about the potential for football in September, and his message was clear: “the virus will make the decision for us”.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t that straightforward. More specifically, the virus, and how we respond to a second wave in the fall, will make the decision as to whether or not it’s feasible, and in what capacity, for there to be an NFL season.
“I think it’s feasible that negative testing players could play to an empty stadium”, he said. “Also, if the virus is so low that even in the general community the risk is low, then I could see filling a third of the stadium or half the stadium so people could be six feet apart. I mean, that’s something that is again feasible depending on the level of infection”.
“I keep getting back to that: It’s going to depend”, he continued. “Like, right now, if you fast forward, and it is now September. The season starts. I say you can’t have a season—it’s impossible. There’s too much infection out there. It doesn’t matter what you do. But I would hope that by the time you get to September it’s not gonna be the way it is right now”.
He offered two reasons for optimism. For one thing, he believes that there should be a massive, widespread availability of testing by the fall. And we should also be much more prepared a few months from now than we were a few months ago to handle the virus, especially in the event of a resurgence as the cold weather arises.
Just for the record, I’m not going to bother reading and moderating the comments, because the same thing always happens. You choose to make things into a political cauldron of vitriol. I’m just reporting the same information that every other outlet that covers sports already did yesterday. Just look at the local papers, look at ESPN. They all covered this story. It’s a sports-related news story, not a part of my satanic agenda to control minds or whatever I get accused of.