The NFL Season is on Shaky Ground...at Best This Year
As the calendar ever so slowly creeps toward August, we close in on an artificial yet very important timeline if anyone expects to see their favorite Fall Sports happen.
This Summer, we've seen Major League Baseball air their grievances in a very public way on how to start the game up in the midst of a Pandemic. But as messy as the argument between MLB and its Players Association was, MLB at least had a plan. A plan they made clear early on and the heat came from negotiations over the amount of games and money.
The NFL however is in a similar, yet frighteningly different place and ew've only begun to see the battle begin. Not-so coincidentally, it comes the week players were to begin reporting to their Training Camp sites under modified conditions.
However the NFL vs. NFLPA battle has only just begun....
This past weekend, most of the leagues players spend time on Sunday taking to Social Media to begin their "Airing of the Grievances":
If you're wondering about this being a "Coordinated" effort by players, well, congratulations, you guessed correctly.
For starters, the two sides are adamantly in opposition regarding "Exhibition Games" in 2020. The NFL wants to play them, the players do not. Yes, it makes this stance perplexing in several ways, though it appears through the Tweets, the concern is more about the NFL following it's proposed procedures than money. *Hint*--It isn't...
Yes, the league has implemented some "Safety" protocols teams and athletes are to follow for the preseason, but at this point, the NFL has not mandated players staying on campus and are trusting them to not violate any contact protocols with people outside their families.
There are rules for who can interact with whom at the Practice Facility, rules for spacing of lockers and showers and meeting and weight rooms along with who can and can't be at the facility at all (the public and reporters)...
Yes, there is a premium placed on Testing, which would be fine except for the fact almost Universally, getting test results right now is a longer and longer wait for teams and players, the league is claiming an 18-hour turnaround for results, which is in many cases roughly at least 100 hours faster than the general public is getting them.
The players, they're concerned. They don't know if or what the pay scale will be in 2020, if games are played. The teams are going to lose money, there's no way around it--it's just a matter of how much.
If you want to know the crux of the problem--it's going to be pay and it's an issue neither side has addressed despite having several months to prepare for the possibility of a shortened season with no fans. The fact said season is upon us without a plan is hard for either side to explain.
Folks, if you don't already realize it, you aren't going to have an opportunity to watch NFL Football in person this year. Already the Raiders have admitted they won't have fans in their brand new, shiny Las Vegas Stadium. The Giants and Jets, due to Government restrictions, they won't either.
The Atlanta Falcons announced this past week they were going to "Limit" fans as well. I'm not sure how they pull that off, allowing 20,000 people in a 70,000 seat stadium isn't exactly a great idea in Georgia where COVID numbers continue to climb at an alarming rate.
Never mind what you tell the 40,000 or so Personal Seat License holders they still have to make a payment for rights to buy tickets for their seats and not be able to use them.
But hey, the Falcons, in their Press Release made sure to mention they wouldn't raise ticket prices for 2021, so there's that....
Listen, I'm not saying we won't see the NFL in 2020. We might. But it's looking less and less likely--just like every other sport is. The NFL is pretty much on the clock, the players need the next month or so to get ready for a season. Yet, this being the season of change, outside some safety and health procedures along with some different practice routines, we don't really know what to expect or the games will actually be played.
And spare me the "These are young, healthy athletes, herd immunity will spare them" schtick or the "The virus is a hoax crap". If you believe that, I've got some prime land in The Everglades I can sell you for a lot of money.
I'm not going to say NFL teams will be perfectly healthy and I'm not saying they won't. The concern we should all be having is for the people they could potentially come in contact with.
There are a frightening amount of people proclaiming themselves experts by saying the Virus is all hype because the death rate isn't too large. Nothing about 140,000 deaths excuses this position. Talk to someone who had Coronavirus and didn't die, ask them how it felt. Ask them if it was real. Ask them if this is much ado about nothing....
IF....if, we see NFL Football this year, I believe it won't be starting on time. I don't believe they'll play a full season. I DO believe if they play, you're looking at an abridged season or one that backs up at least 3-weeks.
If you're ok watching games on TV, then you should be fine. You made it this far without seeing an NFL Game in 2020, waiting a few more weeks won't make much of a difference.
But if you think or expect to see the games start on time, well, you clearly need to go back to your alternative Earth because this one, ain't what she used to be.....