When the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL, then head coach Mike Holmgren said afterward that he didn’t know he’d have to beat two opponents to host the Lombardi Trophy.
“We knew it was going to be tough going up against the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Holmgren said. “I didn’t know we were going to have to play the guys in the striped shirts as well.”
While the officiating crews may not be a secondary force working against NFL teams this upcoming season, there’s going to be an ever-present entity in the form of COVID-19 throwing more obstacles in the way for all 32 franchises.
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wants to attack the coronavirus just as vigorously as their opponents each Sunday.
“We want to crush this virus,” Gruden said, via Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We want to beat it into the ground.”
Gruden has seen people he knows come down with the virus and the struggles they’ve faced as they’ve tried to recover from its effects.
“It’s an awful thing,” he said.
All the game-planning and talent in the world isn’t going to win football games if your players aren’t able to play due to active cases of the virus. Gruden is stressing the importance to his players of being smart and diligent about what they do away from team headquarters in order to limit their possible exposure to the virus.
“To me that’s the number one goal,” Gruden said. “What you do in the building is being evaluated. In the strength room and the training room, on the field, in the meeting rooms. You can’t evaluate everything you do off the field. So we have a players committee and great leadership here that understands that one mistake can be our demise. One mistake can bring us all down in a real bad way.”