Can NFL pull it off in 2020? Bill Cowher says, “I don’t know”

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NBC analyst Rodney Harrison expressed concern on Tuesday regarding the ability of the NFL to play a season in a pandemic. CBS analyst Bill Cowher has similar misgivings.

“I mean, there’s so much anxiety and worry about what’s next, to do the right thing because it varies from state to state,” Cowher told Ed Bouchette of TheAthletic.com. “Testing will be everything, making sure the fans feel comfortable and safe; more importantly, the players. Even if it doesn’t involve fans, maybe what we can do is be able to still see it on TV. But testing will come down to being everything as it comes to playing a season this year.”

Cowher also told Bouchette that Cowher and his wife had COVID-19 earlier this year, following a trip to Honolulu and a March 12 return flight through the Newark airport. Symptomatic but not diagnosed with it at the time, they tested positive for the antibodies in April.

Nearly four months later, the nationwide situation doesn’t seem much better. So can the NFL pull off the 2020 season?

“I don’t know,” Cowher told Bouchette. “No. 1, the players have to feel comfortable with whatever they come up with from a testing standpoint, from a protocol standpoint. I totally understand the reluctance. Even though they say young people aren’t getting it, you also have people who have asthma, people who have underlying conditions in their families — they’re going back to their homes with parents who may now be elderly. It’s not like you can isolate yourself from everybody, particularly during a season that’s five months long. . . . I still think we have a long way to go. It’s going to come down to the league and the NFLPA feeling comfortable moving forward, and even within that, if they come up with a set of guidelines, and now a player who doesn’t feel comfortable, he may not want to be part of it. It affects people differently not only from a physical standpoint but from a mental standpoint. . . . I think we have to respect that.”

Rodney addressed the mental standpoint on Tuesday. At a time when players should have laser focus on football, they’ll be thinking about whether the guy next to them in the locker room or across from them on the field have the virus. Given the extent to which coaches pride themselves on avoiding “distractions,” this is the ultimate distraction.

“Again, if somebody tests positive, who’s to say another player says, ‘I don’t want to go out there and play because, you know what, I don’t want to subject myself to it,'” Cowher told Bouchette. “What do you say to that player, that you have to go out there and play?”

That’s another issue for which the league will need to plan, not make it up as they go. Players shouldn’t be expected to make a final and binding opt-in-or-opt-out decision before training camp begins. Instead, they should have the ability to yell “stop the ride” whenever they decide that they’re no longer comfortable with the risks to themselves, or to their families.

23 responses to “Can NFL pull it off in 2020? Bill Cowher says, “I don’t know”

  1. It’s not easy when you have Fauci and others scaring people so bad they’re cowering under their bedsheets.

  2. Of course – the death count for this cold is under .0005. Lets get the media back on track. Report the positives please.

  3. Scaring?
    Almost 7K in new cases in Cali in ONE day says those not understanding the data are sticking their heads in the sand…or under their bedsheets.. I give the season a 5% chance of getting past Sept.

  4. So many US citizens denied it but only science can save us now. The season is not happening.

  5. george1859 says:
    July 1, 2020 at 9:40 am
    Scaring?
    Almost 7K in new cases in Cali in ONE day says those not understanding the data are sticking their heads in the sand…or under their bedsheets..

    ——

    And yet deaths are down…..

  6. I’d say judging by the college programs, it’s not likely. Most of the marquee programs that are releasing test results have dozens of players testing positive, then they test again and there are dozens more. Also, I think a lot of players aren’t going to want to risk the potential permanent lung damage.

  7. All they have left to report are the number of “cases”, the death rate is not going up accordingly but so many are scared beyond repair.

  8. It’s not easy when you have Trump and his anti-reality minions spewing nonsense and convincing people that wearing a mask is actually dangerous, testing is the problem, etc. etc.

  9. joetoronto says:
    July 1, 2020 at 9:22 am
    It’s not easy when you have Fauci and others scaring people so bad they’re cowering under their bedsheets.

    ********************************************************************************

    Fauci’s been pretty honest and on-the-level about all of this. That people are apparently so scared that they’re resorting to their bedsheets says a lot more about them, their fortitude to deal with reality, and their maturity than it does about Fauci.

  10. Recommended read by Bill Gates in 2015: How to lie with Statistics’. Darrell Huff 1954.

  11. HagemeisterPark says:
    July 1, 2020 at 9:38 am
    Of course – the death count for this cold is under .0005. Lets get the media back on track. Report the positives please.

    **********************************************************************************

    Dealing with bad news isn’t easy. Most people would rather be educated about what’s going on and face it directly than jam their heads in the sand and pretend nothing’s happening or minimize it as nothing but a cold.

  12. I asked elsewhere,but nobody answered, so let’s try it here.

    People are dying. You can argue the percentage of deaths all you want but whatever percentage you use, some people will die. So how many dead players are acceptable to you? 1? 12? 47? And how many is too many? At what point is your entertainment not worth it?

  13. I love an interview where they answer to the question is ” I dont know” …could have interviewed almost anyone and got that response lol

  14. joetoronto says:
    July 1, 2020 at 9:22 am
    It’s not easy when you have Fauci and others scaring people so bad they’re cowering under their bedsheets.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————–

    Yeah, science and data and facts are scary to knuckle draggers.

  15. SWFLPC.INC says:
    July 1, 2020 at 9:50 am
    george1859 says:
    July 1, 2020 at 9:40 am
    Scaring?
    Almost 7K in new cases in Cali in ONE day says those not understanding the data are sticking their heads in the sand…or under their bedsheets..

    ——

    And yet deaths are down…..

    =====================================

    Deaths lag by 3 to 6 weeks, the end of July is gonna be awful for many families in this country and your worried about a game.

  16. It’s very telling that the same people post again and again and again how football should go on and the virus is no more than a cold, etc, etc, etc… and yet, none of them will answer my simple question. So let’s try it again…

    How many dead players are you willing to accept?

  17. “People are dying. You can argue the percentage of deaths all you want but whatever percentage you use, some people will die. So how many dead players are acceptable to you?”

    I would think one athlete’s death ends the charade and cancels the season. It seems likely that the league is just going through the motions in order to be ready for the season in case a miracle happens.

    As someone that lives and breathes football, I hope a miracle does happen. However, I also know we had a chance to shut the virus down in February, March, April, May, and June, and we didn’t have the discipline. It’s sad to admit, but the Flat Earth society has a lot more sway in the US than I would have assumed.

  18. @xargscutgrep-

    Well put. I too wish there would be a miracle and a football season but sans said miracle, I’m just not willing to risk it.

  19. Teams should be able to keep a 90 man roster this year. An expanded roster would allow teams to segregate players as needed. There is no guarantee that a suitable virus can be produced per Dr Fauci. We may have to rely on herd immunity to defeat the virus. Locking down the country for months just kicked the can down the road. Let the season proceed with precautions. Players should have the option to not play but would not receive salary or credit for the season.

  20. It’s real easy to fear monger, but the fact is that the virus isn’t going anywhere unless we get a vaccine or develop a herd immunity to it. Unfortunately that means people have to get sick. I’m not justifying irresponsible behavior but hiding from this thing hasn’t gotten us anywhere either.

    In relation to the article I look at it like this:
    1. If players have a higher risk situation then they can choose not to play and shouldn’t get paid or get a years experience for doing so. That’s a choice that many people have to make.

    2. If players are scared, look at what ER nurses and first responders deal with on a daily basis. They go to work or don’t get paid! Period. They go to different states, leave their families for months, and are in much more vulnerable areas than any professional football players would ever be in. And they do it because they care about people not for any other reason. Players would be in immaculate environments with access to the best healthcare available. How many other people do you know who have that?

    In the end, if they play or don’t play doesn’t matter one ounce in the grand scheme of things. Maybe the perspective that comes from this is that the next time you talk to a child or friend about who is a role model or hero to look up to, maybe instead of pushing precessional athletes you should mention the real heroes in society!

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