Just when you thought the NFL would join the NHL, NBA and MLB in delaying the start of its season, owners and players came together last week and finalized an agreement on COVID-19 Collective Bargaining Agreement adjustments that will allow training camp and the 2020 regular season to begin on time.
Will the 2020 regular season be played in its entirety? Baby steps, my friend, baby steps.
At this point, you must celebrate the small victories, and with the way several players were speaking out last week about the uncertainty of the unprecedented journey they were about to embark on amid this ongoing pandemic, it just felt like the start of training camp on July 28 was certain to be delayed. And if training camp was delayed, what would that do to the regular season?
As of right now, that doesn’t appear to be a concern. This Steelers training camp, one that will include about a three-week ramp-up period before padded practices begin, will be like no other in the history of the franchise.
No St. Vincent College. No preseason games. Will there be fans allowed to attend games at Heinz Field? We don’t know that as of yet. Will fans be allowed to attend games anywhere in the NFL this year? That has yet to be determined.
But there will be football once camp starts. Oh, not right away. Players will be repeatedly tested for COVID-19 early on and, as I understand it, engage in daily cardio and strength-training activities. As a writer, that likely won’t provide me the usual camp fodder to craft stories about. Not unless some players test positive for the virus, which, as Michael Scott once said, would actually be a negative.
But with no fans allowed at training camp, and with no players or fans allowed at preseason games, I think most people will be in the dark when it comes to who looks great and who does not this summer.
That’s okay. At least we’ll have some football to watch in about six weeks or so. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen, right? We’ve already taken all that 2020 can dish out. What else could there be? At this point, the year won’t ask me to hold its beer, because it’s gone through like 96 of them and can barely stand.
On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t underestimate the power of 2020’s beer muscles.
At any rate, the league and its players took a big step by coming to terms on a plan to move forward as safely as possible.
While this has been quite the unusual NFL offseason, the regular season and playoffs have yet to be compromised—something the other professional leagues cannot say.
As I’ve said repeatedly, the NFL is the one league that was blessed with the gift of time as it pertained to the Coronavirus and how to proceed.
There have been some missteps, but as of right now, the NFL has yet to fumble that present.