There is still time for the NFL to make this right. This season is only five weeks in, which means the NFL still has the opportunity to create flexibility if they want to. How it would pull that off still needs to be figured out, but it’s abundantly clear the current plan can’t be trusted to withstand the other challenges the coronavirus will undoubtedly create.
There’s no reason for the league to have been this unprepared for games having to be moved. The pandemic really started affecting the United States in late February and Early March. Six months before the NFL season kicks off. In that time, they watched the NBA, WNBA, MLS, NWLS, MLB and other sports provide a blueprint on playing sports during a pandemic. Sure, the television companies aren’t going to be thrilled about games not being played when they’re supposed to be played, but this is an unprecedented time, which means unprecedented action is needed.
The league needs to consider adding extra weeks to the season or pausing the season entirely so they can bubble up by region or schedule. That will undoubtedly force the NFL to move back the dates of the Super Bowl and combine, but that’s a small price to pay for a full season.
Unprecedented action is what the NFL has been unwilling to take. Shuffling around seven games that reach all the way to Week 11 is just another plan from a league that has deluded itself into thinking they can evade the pandemic that is still raging.
At some point, the NFL is going to really need to grapple with this. There’s no shame in backtracking from the original plan and extending the season to account for potential COVID-19 hiccups down the road. If the past couple weeks have shown anything, those hiccups are coming. The NFL needs to prepare for the inevitable.
Rescheduling a bunch of games isn’t that; it’s a half-assed measure that doesn’t include any proactive action against the virus.
This plan isn’t that. This plan is just another half-assed measure to help the NFL get to the finish line while only marginally dealing with the pandemic.
The NFL’s dealings with coronavirus go beyond what happens with their season. This is a public health crisis and the league desperately needs to take the time to make sure they get this right. Blowing through the season as they are now will only lead to more games being moved — and more cases of the virus. The longer the shuffle goes on, the less time the league has to deal with any outbreaks, and the tighter bind everyone is in.
The league needs to create better contingency plans if it hopes to get to the Super Bowl.
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