Yesterday I wrote that to salvage the season and more importantly protect the lives of its players, the NFL should use its former NFL Europe infrastructure to host the season abroad. Not only would it check the box of expanding the NFL’s global reach (hence the yearly and confusing games in London), but it could help the league stem the 15% loss of ticket revenue and subsequently help the teams that comprise the league by not creating a salary cap nightmare in 2021, ‘22… ‘23
While many in the “real world” are being forced to make the decision to work during an ongoing and inevitably worsening pandemic in the US (just wait for the heat and humidity to dissipate), football isn’t a vital industry that is needed to keep people alive (or, most people anyway, I can always take up solitaire).
Sure, players can opt out, but the newly amended CBA makes a distinction between those that are higher risk medically and those that otherwise opt out. While they do mention familial circumstances (separately), many in the NFL aren’t in the position to do so with a guarantee that their spot will be there when they return.
That’s where Eagles receiver Marquise Goodwin’s statement comes into play. He chose to opt out in 2020 for familial reasons, after missing (or shortly after) the miscarriage deaths of three of his children to prove to his coaches he was a “winner”.
Fans have been reaching out to Goodwin to tell him how stupid he is for opting out as “COVID isn’t that serious”. Sure. The flu has a 20% hospitalization rate.
So why am I writing about this, again?
Well, it was reported today that Vikings players defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo, rookie linebacker Cameron Smith and offensive tackle Oli Udoh were also placed on the COVID IR, bringing the total for the Vikings to seven players.
That is seven of the COVID reduced number of 80. That is nearly 10% of the team. Sure, they could be healthy but “just” in contact with someone who they know had COVID, but that presumes that each player knows the COVID status of each person they interact with (and that those people know their status, and the status of those around them… and so forth).
Sure, the new CBA has rules about going to bars or clubs (or rather, clubs and bars with more than 15 people present). If a team like the Marlins can spread COVID as thoroughly as they have, imagine a football team with more players and much more physical interaction.
Ignoring the human element(s), like risking ones life or the health and life of ones family, the 2020 season has some really great narratives that we as football fans deserve. Tom Brady and Drew Brees may be or definitely are in their final seasons, one with a new team. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have his new tequila chugging self-medicating issue and inevitable falling out, too.
Perhaps I’m overreacting, but it feels like if 10% of the Vikings already are on the COVID IR, barring some sort of soft quarantine for players and their families (and coaches, and those that work at their practice facilities and stadiums as COVID lingers like the sting of an NFC Championship loss), I feel like we’re all going through the motions before one of two things.
Either the season will be cancelled or shortened (all the division leading teams will make the playoffs after week 5!), or that we’ll end up seeing NFL players end up very sick or worse. After all, the starts or restarts if each of the pro sports leagues in the US were originally predicated on the pandemic being over (or under some semblance of control).
The NBA paused their season when one of their players (which turned out to be a few more than one) tested positive. One. How can they then restart when COVID is raging more out of control than it was then? They planned to start because it was thought that this is America and we should have things under control by then!
Sadly. Things are the opposite of under control in the US. Everywhere else? They adhered to the common sense protocols needed to get their pandemics under control, yet we still have people arguing against those protocols even though they clearly worked and didn’t lead to communism or super-COVID cause the mask multiplies the virus, etc.
Considering that we’re also finding out that those that have recovered from COVID have all sorts of repercussions (lung scarring, heart inflammation, blood clots, amputations, etc.), so, wouldn’t a move to Europe be the best move?
Being in a foreign country would limit the social interaction of everyone (as they’d be away from friends and extended family). But, they also would have a much lower chance of contracting the virus basically anywhere else in the world.
It would also limit revenue loss, increase the NFL’s global brand (something they’ve always wanted to do and are far behind the NBA in doing), and help stem the salary cap apocalypse teams will be dealing with for the next few years.
Then again, maybe this crazy, disjointed era is exactly what the Vikings need to finally win a Super Bowl?
It would be very Vikings though, if they were the last healthy team and ended up losing in the Super Bowl to a team helmed by quarterback Dr. Fauci. I mean, look at that arm:
Still better than Christian Ponder.