Coaches likely won’t return until all facilities open

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The NFL will allow some teams to reopen as of Tuesday, even if all can’t. The league will balance that inherent disparity by prohibiting coaches from showing up.

As noted by Judy Battista of NFL Media, the current thinking is that coaches will not be permitted to return to any team facilities until all team facilities are open.

At some point, however, that position may become impractical. That point likely will be the launch of training camps. If the 10 (or so) teams that currently can’t reopen their facilities still can’t open their facilities when training camp opens, they’ll have to take training camp to another state as teams in states that are open bring back coaches and players.

This creates a different kind of disparity, one in which some teams operate under “normal” (as normal as it will be) circumstances and others shift from being stuck at home for months to being required to pack up and hit the road for multiple weeks. With or without their families.

And that’s just the start. What if some states allow open stadiums and others don’t? Some teams will have a home-field advantage, and others won’t. Some teams may have to play their home games in other states.

Although the NFL would prefer to have all teams operating on an equal footing, reality sometimes intervenes. We’ve seen it with wildfires. We’ve seen it with hurricanes. We’ve seen it with snowstorms that collapse roofs of stadiums.

Of course, we’ve never seen it to this degree. But the league and its teams will have to deal with it. The NFL will do all it can to get the 256 games played. And the NFL won’t shut down all games simply because some teams won’t be able to play in full stadiums or in their home stadiums.

Ultimately the NFL will do whatever it has to do to get the games in, even if it means moving all teams to one state and playing games in college stadiums or high-school stadiums or practice facilities or parking lots. And if any measures aimed at allowing the games to be played create an undue burden on some teams, they’ll just have to deal with it.