On Saturday night, NBC’s Mike Tirico worked the Buccaneers-Washington game from home. On Sunday afternoon, CBS’s Tony Romo will work the Bears-Saints game from home.
Which got me thinking: So why can’t Browns coach Kevin Stefanski work from home?
It would be easy to do. Give him a real-time feed of the game, the same as the one that Tirico got tonight and Romo will get tomorrow. The same one that ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit got for the Ohio State-Clemson game. Let Stefanski talk to acting coach Mike Preifer, to offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, to quarterback Baker Mayfield, to anyone/everyone.
It’s not hard, technologically. And it’s not unfair to the other team. Unlike players, who have to actually be on the field to play, coaches don’t have to be on the field. Or in a box. Or in the building.
Given the incredible flexibility the NFL has shown during this season of pro football in a pandemic, it’s surprising that the NFL hasn’t found a way to let coaches — especially head coaches — coach from home.
At this point, it’s too late for the NFL to let Stefanski be involved. In the (hopefully) unlikely event that the pandemic will still be an issue in 2021, it’s a change the NFL needs to consider.
Unfortunately for the league, if it happens with any of the playoff games in the remaining rounds of the playoffs, the precedent has been set: The head coach can’t have a role during the game.