We’ll be writing about it more on Monday but the NFL is beginning to feel the full brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several NFL players have confirmed to test positive for the virus, leading some coaches to wonder if the league will truly be able to remain on schedule this season.
ESPN’s Ed Werder cites three head coaches with varying degrees of concern, including one who believes the league should postpone the Week One kickoff.
Per Werder’s tweet from a few days ago.
One NFL head coach described as “scary” that #Cowboys and #Texans players – including Ezekiel Elliott – tested positive for Coronavirus. Another HC told me league needs to delay start of the season. A third coach questioned wisdom of playing during a pandemic.
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) June 15, 2020
Albert Breer shared a similar sentiment.
So probably worth mentioning this again. There are teams very much for moving the start of the NFL season back a month.
Has fallen on deaf ears thus far, but today’s events would bolster that case. https://t.co/yS0acUVSE6
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) June 20, 2020
The league has attempted to project as much normalcy as possible over the past couple months. They’ve been able to maintain that with the benefit of an offseason on their side. An offseason that’s quickly coming to a close. Training camps are set to begin a little more than a month away. Ditto with the Hall of Fame Game and 2020 induction ceremonies. Now football must join hockey, basketball, baseball, and all other sports in making some difficult decisions about its future.
They have seemed to rule out a “bubble” league akin to what the NBA is doing, placing all teams in one location. For the NFL, that’s not a realistic plan. Too many teams, too many players, coaches, support staff, for too long of a season. Basketball is only going through the playoffs. The NHL is in a similar boat and MLB…that’s another can of worms but in a best case, they won’t play more than 70 games this year.
Can the NFL be the exception? Play their 16 game season, through the entire fall and winter, when there may be a second wave of COVID? At this point, it feels like it’ll be a minor miracle to pull that off. The more cases that come up, the more logistics that must be overcome, the more likely other coaches will feel sticking with the status quo isn’t possible.