The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The NFL made the right call in not conducting preseason games for the 2020 season.
Explanation: After an extended dialogue with the NFLPA, it was reported yesterday that the league agreed it would not hold preseason games this year in light of the pandemic. They already intended to shorten it to two games for the same reason.
The value of the preseason is not such that it justifies the unnecessary risks that come with playing such a directly physical contact sport as football with no stakes. Everyone is committed to one central goal, which is playing the 2020 season. That’s the regular season and the postseason.
The preseason doesn’t need to be played in order for that to happen, and in actuality, foregoing the preseason increases the likelihood of the league having the opportunity to complete the 2020 season.
There is no other major sport in which players are in such direct contact as football, in conditions that would best facilitate the spread of the virus, so avoiding anything that is not essential should be the strategy. Anything else increases the risks of suffering infections and even outbreaks that could jeopardize the state of the season.
It is ironic that the preseason is actually more important this year than it has been in some time. That is precisely because of the pandemic, and the steps that have become necessary to take as a result of it. it is crucial, or at the very least valuable, for teams to be able to work through these protocols in a scenario that doesn’t actually count. Imagine screwing things up heading into the season opener.
Well, we may not have to imagine it if there are no preseason games. How will transportation and accommodations be worked out under these circumstances? How will hosting games work? The preseason was supposed to be the trial run for these sorts of things.
And this is irrespective of the fact that the lack of a preseason will be detrimental to the quality of the roster by foregoing the most important part of competition, as well as weakening the overall quality of play at the start of the year due to a lack of preparedness.