As COVID-19 cases continue to grow across the country, so too the concerns across the NFL.
There have been decisions made recently between the league and the NFLPA on how to approach the preseason as well as training camp. From limiting preseason games to limiting the media at practices, both sides are meeting everyday around the clock to try and put more protocols in place for the safety of players, staff, media, and fans.
But as of now, it doesn’t seem like enough as there are more topics the player’s union continues to press the league on. And if you read the words closely from Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy, it sounds like the league is waiting until the last minute to make some major decisions.
Since the pandemic arrived earlier this year, NFL teams have had the benefit of time. Unlike professional basketball, hockey and baseball teams who were either in the middle of their seasons or about to start, we were in the beginning of our offseason. NFL teams were able to handle free agency, the draft and their entire offseason programs virtually. We’ve made decisions along the way, but the major ones we’ve been able to put off until we have more information. With so much uncertainty, it has made sense that we have not made decisions until we absolutely have to. As we near the start of training camp, though (rookies will start practice on July 21 and veterans on the 28th), time is no longer on our side.
Murphy doesn’t explain what those decisions may be. But the growing sense around the league is there is strong consideration for altering the regular season in some form, perhaps even cancelling — a move the league does not want, however, one that players would welcome.
Buccaneers COO Brian Ford recently sent a memo to fans acknowledging the uncertainty heading into this season on how capacity and attendance at Raymond James Stadium will be handled. Outside of that, they and the rest of the teams across the league have been waiting for their to be more to share.