Not Everyone Agrees on the Precise Likelihood of a 2020 NFL Season

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Not Everyone Agrees on the Precise Likelihood of a 2020 NFL Season

Chicago Bears

Unlike the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, NCAA, and other sports entities, the NFL hasn’t had to deal with a stoppage of play in its realm due to COVID-19.

Sure, adjustments had to be made, including tweaks to the schedule (with OTAs) and to the (virtual) NFL Draft. But because the regular season was months away from starting, the league didn’t have to worry about playing in a pandemic. However, the NFL is approaching its season with training camps, preseason games, and its regular-season contests set to kick off in the coming months. And with that comes posturing from the NFL Players Association and team owners.

During a recent episode of “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” on HBO, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith was asked if he believes games will be played in 2020. Answering on a scale of 1 to 10 (with a 10 being absolute certainty that games would be played), Smith put the NFL’s number at a “six, seven.”

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio shares more from Smith:

“I’m gonna go with a, you know, probably six , seven. But, you know, look, a lot depends on what happens with the other sports. And to say that we aren’t looking at what’s going to be happening in basketball and baseball — and we’re not looking at how they work though those things, we would — I’d be lying to you if we’re not. So how about if I go with six, seven on a curve?”

For the sake of comparison, National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts offered up “six” as an answer, citing concerns from players stemming from recent developments that babies and children have become infected. MLB Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark didn’t have a number, but said he would “remain optimistic” that games would be played.

On the other side of the coin, one NFL owner has been outspoken enough to declare the games will happen in stadiums this season.

In an interview on CNBC, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross shared a far more optimistic forecast than any of the players association leaders did in their respective interviews with Gumbel on HBO.

“I think there definitely will be a football season this year,” Ross said, via ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe. “Real question is, will there be fans in the stadium? Right now — today — we’re planning to have fans in the stadium.”

Ross would go on to say that the team is prepared to go on and play games without fans in the stands, but maintained optimism that a return to normalcy when it comes to NFL games in stadiums was on track.

This, my friends, is what public negotiations and posturing looks like.

The owners are putting it out there that (1) they want games to be played as normal and (2) expect games to be played as normal in the coming year. Certainly, the players want that, too. However, there is some trepidation being shown on the players’ side from their respective executive directors. With that in mind, those leaders are making it known that while they want (and expect) games to be played (to some degree), that the owners won’t be able to strong-arm anyone into playing without making sure proper precautions are made.

We’ll continue to follow this as the return of sports reaches a ramp-up period. In the mean time, I’m hoping for the best for (and from) all parties involved.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.