Most NFL observers believe there will be no offseason programs in 2020, given the ongoing pandemic. Lurking between the lines of Monday’s memo from Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding the “stay at home” draft is an implicit admission that offseason programs likely won’t happen this year.
First, the memo contains an acknowledgement that “stay at home” orders in some states where the NFL does business “extend as far as June,” and that “we should expect that this trend will continue.”
Second, the memo adjusted the closure of team facilities from April 8 to “indefinitely,” and that facilities will reopen “when it is safe to do so based on medical and public health advice, and in compliance with government mandates.”
Third, the decision to conduct a fully-remote draft was based in part on “the fundamental equity principle that all clubs operate in a consistent and fair way.” In other words, if only even one team can’t conduct an offseason program, none can.
For now, the league continues to be focused on the draft. After that, increased attention will turn to other matters, including the looming reality that offseason programs for 2020 will consist at most of a brief orientation period in June, and that quite possibly there will be no football activity of any kind until facilities open for training camp, whenever that may be.