Looking at the NFL Commissioner’s ‘to-d0’ list for this off season, one could almost feel sorry for Roger Goodell. B, considering the amount of money that he makes, it wouldn’t last long. The league is going to be really busy if it wants to get everything done it says needs to change. And, of course, we still are not out of this COVID-19 pandemic mess yet. It’s difficult to plan around that one.
No COVID-19 Changes In The NFL
To start with, no call back on any established COVID-19 protocols that have been put in place like masks and social distancing. That day still awaits us sometime in the future. A plan for vaccinating everybody in the NFL against the coronavirus still needs to be worked out.
Key NFL dates to remember are the March 1 deadline for draft-eligible college players to announce their return to college and, of course, the April 29-May 1 NFL Draft.
17th Game Still On The Table
Goodell and company have to figure out a way to squeeze that 17th game that the owners are pushing for without getting too many people riled up. The NFL Players Association may have something to say about this, but it was sort of agreed to during the 2020 collective bargaining agreement.
Structuring the offseason is next on the list, but with everything else going on, the offseason may well be over before they get around to discussing it.
Major QB Movement In The Offseason
It seems that the NFL always takes care of its quarterbacks and makes sure that each one has a team spot to fill. This year seems to be taking care of itself so far with Matt Stafford and Jared Goff simply trading teams. What will happen with Deshaun Watson is still up in the air and creates some interesting opportunities.
Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles don’t seem to like each other anymore, but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are not about to break up.
The league also has to determine the 2021 salary cap number, which is much, much too complicated to go into here. Then there is the annual free agency merry-go-round that, at this point, is mostly speculation. Hold that one for later consideration.
The NFL still has to figure out the preseason agenda. If there are to be 17 regular season games, how will that affect the preseason schedule? Goodell and the union still have to battle that one out.
Revamped NFL Coaching Cycle Imminent
The list begins to look more perplexing next with “Absorb fallout from coaching cycle.” Just who absorbs what from who is left unclear. It seems like the league are talking about the hiring of minority coaches to achieve some sort of balance.
But that may not work out either, rules requiring a diverse pool of job candidates can be written and other incentives for teams can be offered, but they will never be able to force the owners to hire a coach, or any staff member, that they do not want to hire.
Social Justice Remains A Priority
Maintaining social justice energy is next on the list and should not present much of a problem in itself. After all the social injustice that was experienced last year, maintaining that energy is not difficult at all.
Whatever players decide to do as outward demonstrations of protest, be it specialized sneakers or slogans on the uniforms, they will never match the smoldering anger that burns within all of us who watched the protests go down.
One thing that they could do to make everybody happy would be to somehow reduce the number of penalty flags thrown, especially for offensive holding. It gets so tiresome listening to that same thing over and over again. The flag-throwing also disrupts the flow of the game and seems to be getting out of control.
There’s a lot to be addressed in the NFL offseason and Goodell is going to stay busy. However, that’s what he’s there for, and football fans can only hope that any changes made will make the game better.