As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the only thing we know is that the coronavirus controls the timeline.
And so with the President recently predicting that the NFL season will commence as scheduled, the governor of a state that hosts two of the NFL’s franchises (and that also happens to be the cradle of pro football) isn’t quite as optimistic.
“It might be,” Ohio governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, told Tony Rizzo and Aaron Goldhammer of 850 ESPN Cleveland on Monday. “I just don’t know. I don’t know where we’re going to be and I don’t think anybody really knows. . . . Theoretically, it’s certainly possible that with some significant testing, you could put players on the field long before you could put people in the stands.”
That will be the key: Regular testing that creates quick and reliable results, in order to spot a potentially contagious player, coach, trainer, etc. before the virus spreads like wildfire through a locker room. Even then, games will lack the noise, the optics, the overall ambience that comes from playing in front of fans.
But football without the big-time feel that comes from a full stadium is better than no football at all. Given the billions that will be on the line, bank on the NFL doing everything it can to come up with a way to plays its games in 2020.