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 must be open to forfeiting games in order to complete the 2020 season.
Explanation: The MLB has recently provided us with a scary reminder of the obstacles that the NFL will be facing this year, with the Miami Marlins suffering a severe Covid-19 outbreak affecting half of their roster. The league has had to step in and postpone games, but the NFL cannot make up games the way that baseball can.
Put simply, if an NFL team suffers an outbreak so severe that it forces a team to suspend action, it’s going to be very difficult to make that time up. If it’s bad enough to postpone one game, then it’s almost surely going to be bad enough to postpone two games, and teams only get one bye week. And the NFL is not going to have NFL teams playing multiple games in one week, either. There are no doubleheaders.
NFL teams have a larger roster than MLB teams do, and within that, there is more cushion for an outbreak of cases on the roster, but it will be hard to justify playing a game if an entire starting offensive line is in quarantine, for example. And likely others would have to be in quarantine for a week or two as well, whether or not they test positive.
It’s more practical to allow a team to have an odd number of games played, since you can still go by winning percentage, than it is to try to delay the entire season because of an outbreak on one or two teams. Frankly, I doubt that’s something the league would consider.
If it gets to a point where a team is in such a state where they have to postpone a game, then it’s almost assured that it will affect other teams as well. Their facilities will have to be cleaned and things like that. We saw that happen in baseball.
In such an event, it’s very possible that the league would add another bye week if necessary, or something in that vein, to accommodate the games missed. The date of the Super Bowl is flexible, as is everything else. They have dealt with delays before, and no team has ever had to forfeit a game.