Will the NFL have any preseason games this year? It certainly is looking more and more like we could see the entire preseason cancelled in the extremely near future and especially if the players have the largest say in the matter.
According to Dan Graziano of ESPN on Friday, the NFLPA’s union board of reps voted unanimously Thursday night during the NFLPA call to recommend that the NFL play no preseason games this year. According to Graziano, it’s unclear whether the league, which has reportedly already decided to cut the preseason from four games to two, will consider the recommendation. While the league has yet to officially announce that the preseason has been cut down from four to two games, such a verification could happen soon.
The players are obviously and understandably concerned about their safety during the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and thus most probably don’t see the reason to play meaningless preseason games in such a potentially dangerous environment.
How training camps are ultimately conducted once they get underway is also currently on the minds of players and Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network passed along one possible schedule that’s being discussed by the NFLPA.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, the team’s player rep, spoke about several decisions and plans that need to be made soon by the league concerning the health and safety of players prior to training camps and the preseason getting underway.
“But hopefully in July things start to pick up, whether it’s the protocols being set in place, trying to get guys back as soon as possible,” Heyward said earlier this week on the NFL Network. “I don’t know how long of a quarantine we will have before we even get to practice, but we’ve got to think about those things. But there are a lot of moving parts. It’s not just a football team, it’s the staff, it’s the workers, the people handling the food. How are you going to handle travel? All these things have to be addressed before a lot of our players are going to feel comfortable with even going out there.”
As the Steelers player rep, Heyward made it clear this past week that he knows his role is more than just a title as with that distinction he must always have the best interest of his teammates in mind.
“I’ve got to think not only about my family, but player’s families as well,” Heyward said Tuesday. “You know, we all have unique situations we all deal with. You know, different medical conditions, whether it’s asthma. I think we have some players who might have other things going on, but I’ve got to think and I’ve got to make sure I relay all the information to my players so they can make the best decision for them and their families.”
According to Albert Breer on Friday, the NFLPA’s recommendation of cancelling preseason games would come with significant lost revenue for NFL teams and the league. Teams would lose the gate sales in addition to a lot of local television money, plus the league’s network reportedly routinely posts its highest ratings in August, because of preseason games being shown throughout the month.
One would think that some major decisions about training camp and the preseason will be made very soon by the NFL with announcements soon to follow. By this same time next week, we should know if there will be any 2020 preseason games and what kind of protocols and schedules teams will need to adhere to throughout training camp.
Stay tuned to Steelers Depot for more breaking news on this subject, in addition to player updates, and all things related to the Pittsburgh Steelers.