Why there will be football played in 2020–we think
It is looking positive right now, with J.C. Tretter scoring some important points with the owners. It looks like everyone sincerely wants to get this done, and the season started on time. But as with any labor negotiation, there could be bumps in the road, as a billion-dollar proposition just cannot be simple.
How many people will be allowed to attend games? What will be done if someone tests positive? How do the doctors decide when the players can return after recovery? Those questions have to be codified on paper and everyone has to be happy, or at least willing to sign off on it.
Common sense suggests that If baseball is successful at coming back, and local high schools are able to play football, for the most part, there’s no fundamental reason why the NFL cannot follow suit. With millions of dollars at stake, there are powerful incentives to have some form of football season. The exact form that it takes will be negotiated, however, rather than decided unilaterally. It will be something that the players and owners and their lawyers have to agree to after careful negotiations. However, there is too much money involved to just “wing it. ”
This is frustrating for fans, but it is not the fault of J.C. Tretter, the NFLPA, or even the owners. It’s a real problem, a life-threatening issue, and the parties have to be careful about what they are going to do. There are major risks involved, not to mention literally billions of dollars on the table. It’s similar to the situation that any number of American companies face as they attempt to establish a new normal in the COVID economy.
Workers have to be protected, and procedures have to be changed so that products can still be produced without compromising the health of employees. It has to be handled in a professional manner with workers, lawyers, health care providers, suppliers, everybody, given that there are billions of dollars of salary money involved. It will be a complicated deal, not a simple one, and complicated deals take time, even if everyone pretty much agrees with what needs to be done.
While this writer would bet that there will be football played this season, it is less obvious whether the full season will be played. Probably no one will miss the preseason, and this writer is already on record as saying that veterans should not have to participate in preseason games even when COVID is over with.
NFL players and owners both like money, so it behooves everyone to get a deal done sooner rather than later. It is very likely to happen, but September 10 is not that far away.