The 101st NFL season promises to be one of the strangest yet, but it is also proving to be incredibly awkward to organize.
Since the 2020 season was suspended in March due to the Covid-19 outbreak, there has been a lot of work done behind the scenes to allow the sport to start up again. At the moment, football is due to begin again on September 10, when the Kansas City Chiefs meet the Houston Texans.
The season ending is planned to happen on February 7, with the Super Bowl to take place in Tampa on that date. Yet, there are still some serious issues that may cause problems once the games start up.
Players Who Have Opted Out
There is currently a long list of players who have opted out of the season. One of the latest to make this decision is Skai Moore, He became the first Indianapolis Colts player to opt out, although he wasn’t a first pick for the team, anyway.
Another player who decided not to play this season is Andrew Billings, of the Cleveland Browns. He only joined them in the offseason and signed a one-season deal as their main reserve defensive tackle.
The Las Vegas Raider recently lost two players, as both D.J. Killings and Jeremiah Valoaga have opted out in recent days. Neither was guaranteed to be on the roster for the team, though. Worst affected are the New England Patriots, with 11 of their players currently opting out.
Others who have made the same choice include Chicago Bears’ backup safety Jordan Lucas and Washington’s backup linebacker, Josh Harvey-Clemons. The truth is that most of those who have chosen to opt out are backup players.
Some teams might be a little light on backups due to this, but the overall quality of the teams on the field shouldn’t suffer too much, meaning little changes to the odds of each team. Click here to read more on how to bet on the NFL taking into account the odds and the rest of the latest news.
Players Who Test Positive
Perhaps more concerning is the risk that players may test positive for Covid-19 during the training camp or once the real action begins. This has the potential to cause havoc and potentially close down the season early.
At the moment, the biggest concerns are coming from the Philadelphia Eagles. Head coach Doug Pederson recently confirmed that he tested positive but is asymptomatic. Since they are carrying out virtual sessions, this isn’t a huge concern just yet.
However, the Eagles also have Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata, and Nathan Gerry added to the reserve/COVID-19 list. We know that Johnson tested positive, but it isn’t clear if this is the case with the others.
Once the players get together and start full training followed by competitive games, it is possible that the situation begins to get worse.
Strict health protocols are in place, but what happens if a player tests positive? The current rules state that if they have symptoms then they need to be isolated for 10 days from when the symptoms appeared and a minimum of 72 hours since they went away.
Asymptomatic players can go back with the team after 10 days, or after 5 days following two negative tests. In either case, they are likely to miss at least one or two games. Of course, the worst case scenario would be if a serious outbreak occurred inside the bubble, or if someone got seriously ill.
There is no doubt that the 2020 NFL season is fraught with risks. Yet, it is difficult to see how the whole thing could have been handled any better.
Fans will just be glad to see some sports back on, and will be keeping their fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly from now on.