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: Is the NFL better-prepared to complete their season than the MLB appears to be?
It was announced yesterday that roughly a dozen or so members of the Miami Marlins organization have tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the postponement of multiple games, and leaving an uncertain feeling around the team’s immediate future—as well as the league’s ability to finish the season.
The MLB opted against the possibility of playing out the 2020 season in a ‘bubble’ environment, which is the route that both the NBA and the NHL have adopted. The NFL, also, has been opposed to using a bubble approach, and instead will be relying upon the personal responsibility of its thousands of players and personnel in order to safely carry out a full season.
But as the Marlins incident has shown, the plan never matches the reality. The MLB and their respective players union both felt satisfied with their protocols, but this incident still happened, very early on in the beginning of their season.
Is the NFL in a better position to avoid these incidents than is the MLB? Do they have a better preventive strategy? What about their response plans in the event of an outbreak? Based on what happened in the MLB, it seems inevitable in hindsight that, if a team were to have an outbreak, their next game would have to be postponed. What would this mean? Would that game be made up somehow? Would they forfeit? These are not detailed. The NFL hasn’t laid out the procedure for what would happen if they have to suspend a game. Of course there’s the bye week, but that is only for one week.