By: Jordan Kendall, Columnist
With the rumors spreading that college football won’t have a 2020 fall season, it feels like a matter of time before the NFL does the same. As of now, the Kansas City Chiefs are scheduled to open the 2020 season at home against the Houston Texans on Sept. 10. But based on what’s happened with college football, I’m skeptical that the season will start on time, and even more so that it will crown a champion. There have been a few decisions I have questioned from the NFL, and I think they could backfire on the league going forward.
- No preseason could equal fewer chances
Arguably the biggest change, especially for the rookies is no preseason games. The NFLPA informed the players of the league’s plan to not contest any preseason games this year. This idea was pushed for by the NFLPA which is led by an 11-member committee, and eight have over ten years of NFL experience. What I found interesting about this decision is that most of the committee consists of experienced veterans who likely aren’t worried about making the team. This decision affects a lot of undrafted players who need the preseason to prove their worth to a team.
For Towson fans, this includes former Tigers wide receiver Shane Leatherbury who is now an Arizona Cardinal. He reminds me of someone who used the preseason to not only make the team but thrive when given an opportunity in former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. If Cruz doesn’t perform well in the preseason he’s likely cut, and he likely doesn’t help the Giants win Super Bowl 46. This decision really hurts the small school prospects looking for an opportunity, and I question how much this factored into the NFLPA’s decision.
- No change in schedule
Every other major North American sport has changed its schedule to decrease the amount of travel. Some leagues such as the NBA and NHL are using bubbles which seem to be the best possible method, so far no one in either bubble has tested positive for COVID-19. The NFL won’t be using a bubble and as of now will conduct their regularly scheduled season with teams traveling across the country. The MLB’s season is in jeopardy since their players haven’t taken COVID as seriously as other athletes have, but at least they changed the schedule to only division opponents in the same league and the other league.
It makes much more sense for the Baltimore Orioles to only play teams in New York, Washington, and Philadelphia instead of flying to Los Angeles, Arizona, and Seattle. Why can’t the NFL do something similar? For example, the Seattle Seahawks would play six games against the NFC West four times instead of two. That’s 12 games against the Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals, and San Francisco 49ers. Then they would play the other West division from the AFC and play the Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, and Kansas City Chiefs each once to play a 16-game season. It makes more sense to me than traveling to Buffalo, Atlanta, and Philadelphia this season.
- Will the NFL finish the season?
If I had to bet at this point, I’m going to bet against the NFL finishing this season. Obviously, I hope this isn’t the case, but it wouldn’t surprise me if one team has a bunch of players test positive and have to suspend or cancel a game. I think something similar to what happened with the Miami Marlins is very possible, especially since the NFL has so many more players and coaches involved than baseball. As a sports fan, I want football as much as anyone. But looking at the risk of COVID-19 and the lack of leadership to prepare our country for it, it’s hard to imagine something like the NFL surviving a full season into early February. If college football can’t play, why should I believe the NFL can?