The names are now known as to the members of the outside advisory committee that will assist Commissioner Roger Goodell on issues relating to COVID-19, throughout the 2020 season.
They are, per a source with knowledge of the situation, former NFL cornerback Champ Bailey, former NFL receiver Isaac Bruce, former NFL G.M. Charley Casserly, former NFL head coach Tom Coughlin, former NFL head coach Marvin Lewis, former NFL safety Troy Polamalu, former NFL G.M. Bill Polian, and former NFL G.M. Rick Smith.
The league decided to compile a committee of former executives, coaches, and players not currently connected to the NFL, in order to avoid the obvious conflicts of interest that would apply to members of the Competition Committee, who currently are affiliated with teams that will be affected, directly or indirectly, by the decisions the Commissioner may have to make.
As explained during a Wednesday conference call with reporters by NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent, the committee will advise Goodell on matters relating to whether games should proceed, and also on issues regarding playoff seeding if some teams play fewer than 16 games in 2020, due to the pandemic.
It’s unclear whether objective standards will apply to the decisions that will be made, or whether each case will be assessed based on its own facts and circumstances. Regardless, it will be critical to create a sense of consistency and fairness for all teams in all situations.
Finally, the fact that the eight members of the committee aren’t currently connected to teams doesn’t mean they won’t have their own biases and prejudices, based on past affiliations and/or current friends or enemies. Here’s hoping that, in the end, decisions will be made regardless of who or which team they may help or hurt and that in every instance the best interests of the game will drive the outcome.