As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the United States, there is an increasing sense that the NFL season won’t proceed as normally scheduled.
There has already been some concern voiced by NFL coaches that the season may be delayed. Then on Sunday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk made it clear that “everything is on the table” looking ahead at the 2020 season, including no games being played at all.
Answering questions in a mailbag session, Florio addressed the elephant in the room.
“…yes, it’s possible that games will be played in empty stadiums. It’s possible that some teams won’t be able to play in their home markets. It’s possible that no games will be played at all.”
Florio also pontificated that another drastic solution could keep the season alive.
“Theoretically, it’s possible that the NFL will build in the middle of nowhere a corona-free campus where all players, coaches, trainers, doctors, broadcasters, officials, etc. would spend the entire season sequestered from the rest of the world, with games played on a series of fields from which the games would be televised, with no one else present. (I haven’t heard that this is a possibility, but it’s one that the league definitely should be considering.)”
The COVID-19 situation in the United States is very real, and it’s very dangerous. As of Sunday afternoon, Johns Hopkins University data showed that more than 137,000 Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus, and that over 2,400 have died from complications stemming from COVID-19.
Sunday evening, speaking live from the Rose Garden at the White House, President Donald Trump announced that the CDC’s initial 15-day guidelines to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic — which includes no gatherings of 10 people or more — is being extended at least until the end of April. With that in mind, and considering how Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated he expects COVID-19 to circle the globe for the next 12-18 months, it’s reasonable to assume the NFL, and sports in general, may not be able to operate normally for some time.