The 2020 football season, will it kick off?
Late July and August are special times if you’re a fan of football. The NFL training camps are usually in full swing, the college teams are getting ready to start their season, you can feel the excitement.
As a player I wasn’t a fan of training camp since we had three practices a day in 90 degree heat, all with full pads. You’d be beating up your fellow teammates as you got ready for the season and it gets pretty intense but it was necessary if you wanted to win.
The 2020 season won’t be like any other football season for both the NFL and college teams. The threat of a team coming down with COVID-19 is very real. In NFL summer camps you have 60–75 players, 30 or so coaches, and a 20–30 person support staff.
It’s easy to quarantine in the summer as the players and staff are all sequestered in one location. There are a few staff members who come and go but for the most part everybody is at the training facility. All it takes is one “knucklehead” to break camp or sneak out and infect many of the players.
Already this year there was a rookie back for Seattle who tried to sneak a lady friend into his training camp dorm, she was all decked out in Seattle Seahawks clothing to try and fool the security that was carefully overseeing the dorms. It didn’t work; he got caught and was cut from the team immediately.
The problem is going to come when the NFL allows players to go home during the regular season and players are exposed to family and friends, restaurants and gatherings that may present exposure to the virus. The teams will be traveling, staying at hotels, eating in their dining facilities all which pose more risk for exposure. When a couple of players come down with the virus you’ll see the league shut the entire team down, affecting the rest of the teams on their schedule.
In college news, several Oklahoma players attended a party and came down with the virus. The team had to shut down operations and quarantine players, coaches and staff and complete a major cleaning of the entire facility. The Big Ten and Pac-12 football conferences have postponed their seasons until spring. How that’s going to work is still a big mystery.
Both the NFL and college football will not have any fans in the stands. The NFL persevered through World War 2 when many men went off to fight the war. The 1943 NFL football season showed a merger between the Steelers and Eagles because they didn’t have enough players and the league had a shortened season but still produced over 1,000,000 fans that came out to watch the games for the eight remaining teams. That attendance was the second all time high at the time.
There was the NFL Players 57 game strike in 1982 and the 24 day NFL Players strike in 1987 that was played with replacement players. Even in those circumstances the NFL season went on.
Don’t count on the same for 2020. I love the game of football and I hope I am wrong and they find a solution to let the games begin and go on. Good luck to us all!