Later this week, the league will announce plans for all teams to play a full 17-game schedule. At this point in the year, why not plan for everything to be back to normal?
Will there be fans in the stadium? Broncos season ticket invoices were emailed out as usual to all ticket holders shortly after the 2019 Super Bowl. Outside of a lonely email from the ticket office assuring jittery ticket-holders that they could credit missed games to future ticket purchases (or get a refund), there has been no discussion of what impact COVID-19 would have on fans ability to actually attend games. Will there be reduced fan attendance? Games played with no fans? Nobody knows. It’s hard to fathom that the Denver Broncos or the NFL would take on the liability of having 72,000 screaming fans packed shoulder-to-shoulder all screaming and breathing on each other in the midst of a pandemic.
Will the players be sequestered together, away from their friends and family, to play the season? At first, I thought this might be a great idea. Then you think about the numbers of people involved and the idea gets unwieldy. Sure, you could possibly isolate the entire team, but before you could even begin to get them together, you’d need to have every player in the league self-isolate (from even the people in their own home) for two weeks. Now consider that coaching staffs, trainers, the practice squad, and support staff would also have to do this just to begin associating with one another.
Say someone gets hurt in training camp, to bring someone else in to compete, they too would have to isolate for two weeks before being allowed to even claim a practice jersey.
While it could work in theory, at that kind of scale there are going to be folks who simply refuse to do it. Don’t believe me? Remember William Hayes, the Los Angeles Ram who didn’t believe in dinosaurs? You going to trust someone like him or any other lonely 22-year old player from hooking up with some random Grub Hub delivery driver with a dry cough? All it takes is one person not to take it seriously and everyone is suddenly at risk.
Then there’s the issue of players, coaches, and staff probably not being all that excited about not being able to see family members or friends for 5 months while football is being played. Think of the typical amounts of births, deaths, and other family related issues that draw down on the players during any given season. There’s a lot to consider since the football season goes on for long time, even longer when you’re away from your small children.
So why release the schedule at all? It’s an interesting time for the NFL to release the schedule. As the death rate continues to climb, likely surpassing 70,000 sometime on Monday, and as infection rates at best remain steady, it’s hard to believe that things will magically be solved in all major NFL cities to the point where they can play the traditional brand of NFL football we all know and love.
With so much money at stake for all involved, it’s the NFL’s responsibility to plan for a successful season. It was this kind of thinking that netted the NFL their best-watched draft in the history of televised common drafts. As the pandemic progressed, the cockamamie idea of gondolas delivering draft picks to the podium in the middle of the Bellagio fountain was still the plan... until it wasn’t. I imagine the season 2020 will be also be tweaked and amended on the fly, as the draft was.
Until we know we are riding the downward trajectory of this virus, I’ll appreciate the NFL’s optimism, but also take it with a grain of salt.
Ask Aric: Who could be the Broncos' breakout star in 2020?
Aric DiLalla answers questions about which players could emerge in 2020, how many touchdowns Drew Lock will throw and a lot more.
Years later, Broncos' trade for Elway still looms large - NFL.com
On May 2, 1983, the Denver Broncos traded the Baltimore Colts for John Elway and it was a transaction that instantly altered the Broncos franchise and still is today.
Chiefs reach deal with ex-Michigan QB Shea Patterson
The Chiefs added another developmental quarterback to serve as a backup to Patrick Mahomes by agreeing to contract terms with undrafted rookie Shea Patterson of Michigan, agent Bryan Ehrlich announced Sunday.
Reid: Challenge of repeating, improving 'starts now' - NFL.com
With almost a full cast of returning starters, the Chiefs will have high hopes of repeating in 2020, but coach Andy Reid stressed that the team needs to try to be "even greater than what you were that previous year."
Kenyan Drake doesn't see tag as 'slap in the face' - NFL.com
Kenyan Drake is looking for a long-term deal with the Cardinals, but for now the franchise tag is OK by him and "it wasn't really a slap in the face or anything."
Historic No. 1 Burrow vs. No. 2 Young clash looms - NFL.com
The Bengals and Redskins are set to clash in 2020, meaning No. 1 pick Joe Burrow and No. 2 selection Chase Young could very well be lining up against each other.
Jarrett Stidham's college coach says he's ready to take over for Tom Brady, 'moment won't be too big for him' - CBSSports.com
Gus Malzahn says Stidham has the right makeup to be Patriots' next starting QB
Redskins' Dwayne Haskins shows off mural of himself with Tom Brady from Patriots game - CBSSports.com
Haskins has his own tribute to Brady
Dez Bryant calls Cowboys 'extremely out of line' after signing Andy Dalton before Dak Prescott - CBSSports.com
The ex-Cowboys receiver had strong words for his former franchise
Asante Samuel on Tom Brady leaving Patriots: 'He probably just got fed up with it at the end of the day' - CBSSports.com
The former Patriots corner highlighted his time in New England