This is a good question to ask. In fact, it makes sense to ask it at this point:
Is the 2020 NFL season likely to be delayed or, let’s be honest, canceled?
The answer is that the league is not there yet, not even close. They anticipate a season that starts on time, and to do so, they are profoundly capable of making dramatic changes to team offseason operations to prepare remotely as best they can during this coronavirus pandemic.
However, consider this timeline logically: experts describe the best scenario for a 12-18 month timeline for a vaccine to control the spread of COVID-19.
An NFL executive on Friday already conceded to the league website that he expects the teams will not be able to meet in person before the end of July for an early training camp.
And for the NFL to play a single game, it must be able to safely accommodate approximately 61,500 to 80,000 fans in a stadium. He must be able to guarantee that all staff and players can travel, collaborate and come into close contact without contracting and spreading this deadly virus.
How could the NFL guarantee this type of safety by Labor Day?
“In September, can we have stadiums with people in them?” the executive posted on NFL.com. “I’m trying to look at what’s going on in China towards normalcy. But who knows?”
“I don’t see how there are no massive delays in the [NFL] schedule,” an AFC head coach told the Bleacher Report, “including delays at the start of the season.”
“I will be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I will be so surprised if this happens,” ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said on ESPN Radio.
There are also two incomplete stadiums in Inglewood, California and Las Vegas for the Rams, Chargers and Raiders, respectively. Construction is continuing on both sites for now, but for how long? A worker at the Allegiant stadium in Vegas has already tested positive for the virus.
So the bottom line is that, although the NFL is not yet ready to speak publicly about the possibility of a delayed or canceled season (it won’t even postpone the late April draft), it would make sense that the league would create contingency plans for these scenarios.
And although they are establishing a regular season schedule that starts on time at the moment, it is reasonable to assume that they would create a plan for a delayed slate if it became clear that it was necessary.
But first, they need to focus on what to do tomorrow. And right now, the road to all league decisions is paved with daily communication between – and updates and recommendations – from the NFL medical director, Dr. Allen Sills and the NFL Players Association medical director. , Dr. Thom Mayer.
Their guiding objective is to protect the health of the public and club and league employees while pursuing essential league activities safely, in preparation for a season.
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And the first step includes discussions on virtual off-season activities where coaches and players can hold team and position meetings, exchange game books remotely and stay on track for summer and fall .
For the Giants and other teams with first-year head coaches in particular, this is an essential part of this unprecedented off-season framework. Teams with first-year head coaches had to start on April 6, two weeks before everyone else, an annual rule that gives their budding programs a head start.
Without having the players in the building, a beginner coach like Joe Judge is certainly not going to do the same kind of work that he envisioned when he started out leading the team. However, it would be fair to keep this advantage for first-year teams.
And I can promise you that these conversations all take place, but simply much more complicated than usual.
The collective agreement, for example, governs the number of hours and days a team can practice and meet its players, the level of practice they can perform, and many other details.
So it’s not just a league decision. It’s also a conversation with the NFL Players ‘Association about, for example, how long Giants’ offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is allowed to spend per day on video conference with quarterback Daniel Jones to set up his new offense.
Fresh out of the narrow passage of a controversial new collective agreement, he then returns to the table of NFL and NFLPA leaders. But this time, they may not just be talking about the rules governing their game.
At the beginning of summer, common sense tells us that they could discuss whether or not there will be a match in 2020.