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 team that displays the most personal responsibility throughout the season will have an edge in competition amid a pandemic.
Explanation: Time and time again, the league’s officials and their surrogates have emphasized the importance of personal responsibility in their ability to carry out the 2020 season. They know that positive covid-19 cases are inevitable, even during the season, and to prominent players. It would stand to reason that teams are then incentivized to limit their risks to keep their players out of quarantine.
Remember that old adage, the best ability is availability? How many great talents have we seen come and go just because, for one reason or another, whether it was health or personal issues, they couldn’t stay on the field?
That’s what this 2020 season is going to be about. Even without veterans reporting, and without players all working together in groups, we have had dozens of rookies placed into quarantine. By the time the full testing procedure is through, there is likely to be easily over 100 positive cases, and it may include some significant names.
As we just say in the MLB, it doesn’t take much to create an outbreak. You only need exposure to one positive case to allow it to leak into your locker room and sideline your team.
One incident with one team doesn’t change the discussion. Sure, it may affect a couple of teams, but the odds suggest that the majority of teams will be relatively unaffected from an on-field product standpoint. There should not be significant variance from one team to another to the point at which it would provide a global advantage.
Of course if you happen to be playing an upcoming opponent one week whose starting quarterback is in quarantine, that’s going to help you. But it’s going to help you one time in one situation. It’s not going to win you a trophy. As always, injuries will be a much bigger factor than the virus.