The NBA is doing what the NFL should be doing: Coming up with any and every idea for figuring out how to play as many of its games as possible.
With the NFL by all reports and accounts focused solely on conducting the draft, the NBA is identifying alternatives for playing the rest of its season. Specifically, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is willing to explore the possibility of his league playing games under quarantine in a city like Las Vegas.
Cuban “absolutely” would be willing to do that, he explained Wednesday on ESPN. The logistics would have to permit it, however.
“As much as I’d miss my family, and as much as I’d rather be here with them like we have been, there’s a bigger picture here,” Cuban said. “There’s a whole country that’s looking for something to cheer for. There’s a whole country that wants something to get excited about. I would do it because I think it’s the right thing to do.”
The NFL needs to be thinking about the same possibiliies, as difficult and potentially impractical as it would be. Although the league has said that it plans to play a full season in full stadiums starting as scheduled on the weekend after Labor Day, it should be identifying every potential complication and every possible strategy for confronting every possible scenario.
If the NFL is engaging in this type of brainstorming, it’s happening so secretly that no one knows it’s occurring. The more reasonable explanation is that the NFL hopes to get through the draft and then worry about offseason programs and beyond.
Maybe that will be sufficient. But with three weeks between now and the draft, it makes sense to take full advantage of the benefit of time to plot and plan and strategize for a way to play as many games as possible in a way that is as fair as possible for all teams.
The notion of playing all games in a remote location where all teams would arrive and remain for the full season would be cumbersome and expensive and challenging for the individuals involved. But it needs to be included within the menu of potential pathways for the league, even if a decision is made after working through all factors and variables that it won’t work.
Regardless of the option the NFL chooses, there needs to be diligent and aggressive consideration of every “what if?”
And the list of potential “what ifs?” is lengthy and exhausting, from the question of whether some stadiums can host fans while other can’t to the question of whether some states with NFL teams will continue to be under stay-at-home orders while others aren’t to the question of whether and to what extent any player who tests positive, even without symptoms, would be temporarily removed from the team, no matter whether it’s the last guy on the roster or Tom Brady.
Much can happen over the next five months. Much will change. Everything that can happen and can change needs to be considered by the NFL as it moves forward with its plan to play a full season.
Ultimately, that plan may not work. If it doesn’t, what will be Plan B, C, D, and so on? The sooner the league gets started on coming up with those plans, the better of the league, its teams, its stakeholders, and its fans will be.
Mark Cuban is willing to finish NBA season in a single city originally appeared on Pro Football Talk