Riggo’s Rag Redskins Mailbag: Roster long shots, COVID-19, more
By Ian Cummings
Valen and razorblade: What I want to know is will the season be started? And if the season is held or at least started, what type of limitations will there be on seating? Also, will weekly COVID-19 testing be required of all players, coaches and fans?
Ian: This is something that’ll no doubt keep developing over the course of the coming weeks and months. Before this second wave of sorts, I would have said with confidence that there will be a 2020 NFL season. I’m a little less sure now, with numbers flaring up again across the country.
For now, the NFL has revealed no plans to move the start date of training camp from the end of July. In an article by Mike Jones of USA Today, the NFL’s chief medical officer spoke on the risks facing the NFL right now.
"The NFLPA and NFL are in the same exact place, where we want whatever makes for the safest possible environments for all our constituents, whether they be players, coaches, trainers, medical staff — anyone in that team environment. We’re going to work very hard together to educate everyone about the steps that we feel collectively are the most effective in reducing risks for everyone."
It looks like everyone wants to at least make an effort toward putting together a 2020 season. There are no guarantees at this point, but unless things take a turn for the absolute worst, football should be back in some capacity. But there will be major changes.
First and foremost, it seems likely that seating would be, at the very least, restricted, and at most, prohibited to fans. Two football teams in an empty stadium can at least somewhat maintain a controlled environment, but the presence of a crowd numbering in the thousands not only compounds the risk of the players, but also ensures that the virus may spread through the crowd itself as well. There hasn’t been a lot said on this specifically, but I think most audiences will be watching from home, if football occurs in 2020.
As for testing, players and coaches would certainly need to undergo frequent monitoring. If one player tests positive for the virus, he could then spread it to his coaches and teammates, effectively jeopardizing the safety and state of his team. If a player was not tested and then spread the virus to his teammates, game cancellations could occur from that turn of events, further complicating the NFL’s ability to play through the pandemic.
As mentioned in the USA Today article mentioned above, there are also some concerns surrounding the accuracy of said tests, as well as ongoing sanitation, space management inside facilities, and control of player health at home.
If nothing else, there’s a lot to think about. And a lot currently still in flux.