It’s been rumored, and it’s now official.
NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent confirmed during a Wednesday conference call with reporters that the Commissioner will use an outside advisory committee for consultation when it comes to making decisions regarding COVID-19 issues, such as whether to postpone games, reschedule games, suspend games, and/or cancel games. The Commissioner won’t rely on the Competition Committee, given the reality that the members of the Competition Committee will have obvious conflicts of interest.
Of course, the members of the outside advisory committee will have conflicts of interest, too; they just won’t be as obvious. If they are connected directly or indirectly in any way to the football business, there will be relationships (good and bad) that could make ideally objective decisions anything but.
Then there’s the overriding question of whether the process will have objective standards, or whether every situation will be handled individually. Vincent was asked whether factors and thresholds would be identified before the season begins; his answer strongly suggested that the decisions will be driven by the specific circumstances.
The advisory committee’s work won’t be confined to deciding whether to play a given game. Vincent said that the advice from the outside committee ultimately could include how to seed playoff teams if teams play fewer than 16 games. Which means that the NFL is indeed contemplating the possibility that some teams won’t be able to get a full season in, even if others are.
UPDATE 3:06 p.m. ET: Vincent said the committee will consist of former General Managers, former coaches, and former players. He declined to identify them for now, explaining that he wants to make sure they are aware that their names will be made public before doing so.