Folks, as we inch closer to football season and we look at the world’s landscape, the more nervous I get that football will actually happen. Now let me preface this article by saying this, I’m not trying to spread fear when it comes to the coronavirus with this post. The virus is clearly less deadly now than it was back in March and April because we’ve gotten better at treating the virus. My hope is that the doctors and nurses who are on the frontlines find even more strategies to treat the virus.
I also want to clarify that I’m not one of the people who is rooting for COVID to win. There’s a lot of people in sports journalism who are actively rooting for the virus to cancel everything. I don’t consider myself a journalist. I don’t care about needing an easy story to write about like many of the gutless people in the media do. I’m a sports fan who’s genuinely worried that the best sport that happens at the best time of year isn’t going to happen for an entire year and I’d have to go another twelve months with no football. The thought of that makes me sick to my stomach.
The issue for sports is that even though the death rates across the country are way down which is great news, it’s the number of cases that ends up cancelling sports. Just look at what is happening in Major League Baseball right now. The Miami Marlins have been forced on a week long hiatus as 19 players and coaches have tested positive for the coronavirus. The St. Louis Cardinals have had to cancel their game tonight because employees, not even players, have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The fact of the matter is that COVID outbreaks that happened to the Marlins are going to happen in the NFL. Team employees are going to catch the virus. Outbreaks already happened on college campuses with college football players. The issue is that it only takes one player to go to one party or nightclub and contract the virus for it to spread like wildfire.
And again, the fatality risk for professional athletes who contract the coronavirus is meniscule. They statistically have a better chance of dying from a lightning strike or a car accident. But as I said earlier, it’s the amount of positive cases that can derail an entire season. It’s clear that Major League Baseball had no good plan in place to handle a player testing positive because it’s inevitable that positive tests will happen.
When it comes down to it, putting NFL teams into a bubble isn’t a realistic option, either, unless they drastically shorten the season which would absolutely suck. I don’t think there’d be a lot of guys signing up to be in a bubble for 17 weeks during a span that stretches through the holidays with no access to their friends, family, and life outside of their job.
The best bet that the NFL has is to put as many precautions in place as possible. Make all coaches and personnel on the bench that are not playing in the game wear a mask. Ensure that proper social distancing protocols are followed in the locker rooms. Hell, put up plexiglass between locker stalls like the Lions did.
When it’s all said and done, I just want football. I don’t care if I have to wear a mask to get it. I don’t care if I can’t go to any nightclubs for the rest of the year. Just give me football. It’s all I want. I can’t go another 13 months without real football. That would be a bigger hazard to my health than coronavirus.