There are still concerns about the fate of the 2020 NFL season as it looks more and more uncertain. Some fear that it could be canceled. Unfortunately, all preseason games were eliminated back in June due to the coronavirus pandemic threat. Last night would have been a great moment for fans if the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburg Steelers had been played as the Hall of Fame Game as some expected. In fact, the situation became so serious that the league itself is at risk.
The NFL 2020 Season Is On Uncertain Ground
Chances are, the 2020 regular NFL season starts on September 10, however, this is still a bit uncertain, and many questions that still need to be addressed. Some people are worried because there could be no football this year – college ball is already on the brink and, now, pro ball, as well. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has shared his opinion concerning this aspect.
Tomlin was interviewed by a reporter, and he said that there’s a chance that the NFL would not be able to hold a complete season. Tomlin was clear in stating that he is not convinced things will end up the way the league and fans are hoping. According to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, he said, “I don’t know if I am extremely confident. I respect the challenges these circumstances have presented to other leagues, some of which we are witnessing. I think we are all proceeding with caution and working extremely hard not to become part of that. We have some people in leadership positions — Dr. [Allen] Sills — and others, medical professionals, who have led the charge for us globally in the NFL, and we are working out tails off to adhere to it and hoping that is enough coupled with personal decision-making that needs to be exhibited continually by our guys throughout the course of this.”
66 Players Take The Money And Run
The NFL and the players union signed an agreement that permitted players to abandon the season due to concerns about COVID-19 without being penalized. The deal also included a salary for the season, a sort of advance on future salaries. So far, 66 players have opted out. At this point, players are still allowed to quit even though the deadline has passed; however, they won’t be eligible for any compensation. The New England Patriots had eight players out, but the Steelers kept all its players as well as the Atlanta Falcons and LA Chargers.
It seems that some people don’t agree with seeing players quitting the 2020 NFL season due to being uncertain about health concerns. Even though some fans have accused the athletes of being selfish, they neglect to recognize the undeniable threat of the virus. Getting infected with COVID-19 can pose serious long-term consequences and there is no guarantee that affected players might come back to the game in the future. A player who tests positive can put his career, as well as his family members and people around him, permanently in danger.
Virtual Fans Likely If Season Proceeds
While everyone tries to figure out what’s going to happen, the NFL is preparing to put fans in the stands – kind of. It is considering having virtual fans within the stadium during games, which is already tested during the virtual draft in April. The NBA appears to have been successful in implementing a similar format for its games in the NBA Bubble, but the major difference is the number of virtual platforms needs. This modality of having virtual fans is a way to encourage and motivate players, they need so much support especially now that the stadiums will be empty.
The league must find a creative way to deal with COVID-19 challenges. Most teams are announcing that no fans will be allowed in their stadiums unless the health crisis changes and the cases of the virus begin to drop significantly. Some NFL teams are very confident and hope to have around 33% to 40% of capacity in their stadiums when the 2020 season starts, but, so far, this sounds very uncertain because the positive cases are on the rise.