The 2020 regular season, not for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but for the NFL begins a week from today. Let that sink in for a moment. Also take in the knowledge that, by and large, the league has been rather successful in controlling its players and organizations with their Covid-19 testing, and so far have prevented any outbreaks, with few new positive tests after the initial wave that was found when reporting to training camp.
With all that being said, they know that they are not out of the woods yet. In fact, the real test will only get started once the regular season actually gets underway, and individuals from different clusters of controlled environments begin coming into contact with one another (in other words, playing games), and traveling from city to city, trusting that nobody is going to behave irresponsibly along the way.
“We’re not patting ourselves on the back yet”, said commissioner Roger Goodell. “We’re just at the eve of the season, and we’re looking to start and complete the season on time and complete, but in a very safe way for everybody who is participating”.
The most recent test results found that 10 new positive tests were drawn up, with four among players and six among other staff members. There are currently four players around the entire league on the reserve/Covid-19 list, though that was very recently down to only one.
“We have been really fortunate. The cases of COVID-19 are very low across the league”, Goodell added. “It is a testament to the plans but most importantly to the diligence to the players, the teams and their staffs. I would tell you that we still have more work to do”.
“We are not going to get comfortable. We will remain vigilant, resilient and flexible and basically adapt to circumstances as needed with public health as our No. 1 priority as we have all this offseason”, he continued. “I think the big thing for us, again, is not to get comfortable. The protocols are working. But we’re dealing with a lot of uncertainty here. This is a pandemic that we’re still learning about”.
The MLB also had a very successful buildup to the start of its regular season, even playing exhibition games, but since regular play got underway, they had three separate instances of teams experiencing Covid-19 clusters that resulted in games being postponed while people went into quarantine. There are even more moving parts in the NFL, and they would be foolish to think this can’t happen to them.
Still, they must be given credit, I feel, for doing just about everything that it is in their power to do, and this isn’t simply the NFL but also the NFLPA, which has fought hard for some of the measures that are working very well so far. These protocols, put simply, are what is enabling us to have the opportunity to watch Steelers football in what is now the very near future. Which is all the more reason not to get comfortable and complacent with the situation. Especially if you have any aspirations of actually attending a game in person this season.