Normalcy is a relative term. Whether it’s going to work on a regular schedule, enjoying an evening at a nice restaurant or at the movies. Who would have thought those things would feel so great before the year 2020.
For people like me, it’s been so odd the past couple of months not going to ballgames, watching them on TV or even putting schedules, results and recaps in the newspaper or watching highlights on SportsCenter.
With the announcement of the 2020 NFL schedules Thursday it gives us sports fans (and I LOVE football) another excited jolt, as we look at our favorite NFL teams and see who they are playing, with hopes that games at some point in the season will be open to the fans.
The Texans have a huge game to start the season as they get to battle the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead on Thursday, Sept. 10, in front of a national TV audience.
The big questions still on everyone’s minds are: 1. Are professional teams going to be able to play by the summer/fall; and 2. If they do play, how many fans, if any, will get to attend.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell outlined protocols for the reopening of team facilities this week, directing teams to have them in place by May 15.
There are several phases of the plan, but at least it’s coming. The first phase will involve a limited number of non-player personnel employees (up to 75 per team) on any single day. No players will immediately be allowed at facilities except to continue rehabilitation.
The next phase will include more staff. Of course all of this is based upon approval by each team’s local and state government, which could be tricky.
With this being early May, hopefully before July coronavirus issues will lesson and teams will be allowed to have players at facilities and then we can have some sort of training camps later that month.
It’s still unclear if games will be played, but hopefully — even if fans, or a limited number of fans are allowed — games will be played by the time the regular season starts in September. Despite being able to watch them on television, I’m sure it will be very strange to watch games in front of empty or mostly empty stadiums.
College football is also very much up in the air. Some universities are stating that they will play games, but if necessary, the games will be played in front of empty stadiums, as well.
I read today (Friday) where Oregon governor Kate Brown has already ordered that “there will be no sporting events with fans through the month of September.” That means the University of Oregon Ducks will play their first three games in front of no fans, including a Sept. 12 contest against Ohio State, which will be one of the biggest games in the history of the school.
I don’t understand why officials would make that kind of snap judgement when the game is still more than four months — or a third of the year — away.
No matter what the level, if football games are forced to be played before empty stadiums, it will be great for the TV networks, but teams will suffer greatly with the loss of revenue.
With some NBA facilities opening for individual workouts, commissioner Adam Silver said no decision on returning to play this season needs to be made in May, nor immediately into the start of June. He even talked about the possibility of using just one or two sites. He also said the 2020-21 season might be pushed back to start in December because of the lateness of this season.
Although baseball has started in front of empty stadiums in South Korea, it’s still anyone’s guess when MLB will begin working toward the start of the season.
There were some teams, like the Cleveland Indians, that are telling their players to get ready, which is also encouraging. The word from sports networks is “spring’ training could start in early June, with a hopeful start to the season possibly coming in July.