Everywhere around the country, kids are getting their hearts ripped out as more and more high schools and college programs “postpone” fall football.
As a parent, coach and fan, this time is extremely difficult for me. My fall revolves around football...as it has for decades.
But I am far from the only one. This is extremely hard to deal with for die-hard football fans all over our country, as football is both a sanctuary for normalcy and a escape from the rigors of everyday life for many. Hell, for some...football is life!
In these uncertain times(man, I hate those words, and can’t believe I just typed them) many of us are looking to just about anything to prevent us from taking the bridge; especially with the shaky political landscape that has taken over the country. Football normally provides us with that buffer somewhere between reality and a male version of a soap opera. The drama consumes us, the action excites us and the uncertainty captivates us.
Although football is scheduled to go on this year, it feels VERY different.
The NFL has started organized practices, but it doesn’t feel the same. Training camp, which is normally open to the fans, is limited this year to a few team reporters(still mad as hell Lake Lewis wasn’t on this list). This past Thursday, we’d normally have been able to see our team’s first preseason game. Now, with the preseason cancelled due to the pandemic, we likely won’t get to see any live action until the first regular season game(which will probably resemble a preseason contest).
We’ll miss many of the heated training camp fights, the joint practices and scrimmages with an opponent, and seeing our favorite roster long-shot fight to make the squad.
Once the season does begin(which I do feel it will at least BEGIN), fans will not be allowed in the stadium for home games(not that this will make a big difference anyways, as opposing team’s fans often outnumber Washington fans at FedEx). Still, it’s going to have a very eerie, surreal feeling come game day.
What happens if a team experiences a rash of positive tests - like what happened in Major League Baseball to the Marlins and Cardinals? Do those teams not get to play for two weeks, or will we see a roster than resembles a 1980’s “scab” team? Will a team have to keep certain key positional spots with a quarantine player...or 4? We all know you can’t play the game without a quarterback, and seeing that positional groups are around each other a lot during the week in team meetings, what if one infects all three?
- Will the rookies have enough time to acclimate?
- Can undrafted free agents like Thaddeus Moss and Isaiah Wright make a name for themselves without preseason contests?
- Will we see a rash of injuries without a full acclimation period?
- Does this give a new coaching staff fair time to evaluate the team?
How about college football, and the impact of many of the programs around the country not playing during the fall?
How will this impact the 2021 NFL Draft, and even more important, the 2021 NFL season for rookies?
There is no way to make a spring season happen safely for juniors or seniors who wish to enter the NFL draft. You can’t expect these young men to participate in full-contact action nine out of 12 months of a given calendar year. If they simply decide to skip the season to prepare for the NFL, you’ll get a very watered down college football season.
And how about high school? What about your seniors who are fighting to earn a college scholarship? Not everyone is a four or five star recruit who can afford to skip their final year of high school football and get accepted early into their college of choice. And what happens if you are one of these kids who is an early enrollee and colleges decide to play spring football? Are they allowed to play?
What a complete mess this has become...from the top down!
What many of us crawled to for a sense of normalcy, has now become a pandemic in its own right. Not only football, but sports as we know them may never again be the same. The ever-changing political landscape will dictate far more than the virus ever did, and I fear it will be for the worse, not better.
But hey, at least we have football for the time being...right?