As we continue to slowly climb a mountain with no ability to see the summit, optimism persists regarding the ability of our true American pastime returning for a full 2020 season.
Appearing on Adam Schefter’s podcast, NFL Players Association medical director Thom Mayer expressed hope that the season will proceed, adding that much more will be known by late May or early June.
“So OTAs, probably not going to happen,” Mayer said. “As you know, the clubs are closed for now and will remain closed for a while. But I’m very optimistic. You know, you look at somebody like Drew Brees and [wife] Brittany Brees gave five million dollars to New Orleans. And you may have heard Drew the other day say, ‘Hang in there, hang tough.’ And that’s what we have to do. We have to hang in there and hang tough — but we have to scenario-plan for disasters in terms of the way we did it at 9/11.”
That’s the key: Both the league and the union must be working together to identify every possible “what it?” and to plan for it. Not in May or June but right now.
It’s encouraging that the NFLPA already is thinking along these lines. The league needs to do the same; however, some have expressed concern that the league is currently so focused on pulling off the draft as scheduled that questions relating to training camp and the regular season are being tabled.
That would be a mistake, if it’s indeed happening. The league surely has the capacity to plan for the draft and, as Mayer said, “scenario-plan” for the potential state of the coronavirus pandemic in July, August, September, and beyond.
The offseason flies by quickly. April becomes May becomes June becomes the countdown to training camp. Every hour spent focusing on something other than planning for all potential permutations is an hour lost to what ultimately could be a challenge that there’s insufficient time to solve.
Preserving the season of the NFL’s 100th anniversary means acting now to envision various circumstances and brainstorm potential solution and basically be ready for anything to happen because, as the last few weeks have proven, anything can.