The NFL, and the world, has been in a holding position the past few weeks wondering how the coronavirus, COVID-19, will impact everyday life. For most, it is the question of whether they will be able to return to school/work. But for professional sports teams, the question is when will they be back on the field/court/ice playing the game they love?
The NFL, unlike the NBA, NHL and MLB, have the good fortune of not needing to change much other than some operational things in the offseason. But some experts are suggesting this is just the very beginning of the coronavirus impact, and it is has football fans wondering if this long-term impact could start to push important dates back, or have them cancelled altogether.
Dates like offseason workouts, Organized Team Activities (OTAs), Mandatory Minicamp and even training camp.
Pittsburgh Steelers Team President Art Rooney II spoke about the current state in the United States, and across the globe.
“It’s a difficult time in our country, a difficult time in the world,” Rooney told Bob Labriola of Steelers.com. “One of the things that was a factor in (the decision to move forward with the start of the league year) is that there really is no time frame for when we’re going to get through this. So even if we postpone things for a week or two, there really is no guarantee we would be in a better situation than we’re in now. That was the basic thinking on it.”
But what about training camp? Camp doesn’t open until the end of July, but could it be possibly those dates are impacted? According to Rooney, they have no idea.
“It’s too early to say that,” said Rooney. “Hopefully, God willing, we’ll be able to open training camps on time, but we just don’t know that at this point. We’ve been told the draft is going to go on as scheduled on the dates it has been scheduled. We’ll have to be prepared for that, and we’re preparing for it. Who knows if that will change, but for now we have to prepare for it to take place on the scheduled dates.”
These are trying times in our world, and with so much uncertainty surrounding our everyday health, it makes something like football seem insignificant. However, football has always been a great way for people to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and for that reason it carries some value. With the sports world on hold, all we can do is hope the next few months are nothing but a rebound back to normal everyday life.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for NFL Free Agency and the 2020 NFL Draft in just over a month.