By now, it is apparent to even the most skeptical of observers that the novel Coronavirus is going to be with us for the foreseeable future. When we consider that NFL teams are based in 22 of the 50 states, just assessing the risks and challenges of playing a full slate of games, from a travel standpoint, becomes dicey. While the league can, and has, tinkered with the number of players a team can have available to play in any given week, this only addresses the issue to a very minor degree. If ten or twelve players from one team all test positive for the virus, does that mean they’ll have to sign replacements off the street so that they can play the next two or three weeks? It’s thorny. At some point, the question has to be asked as to whether it makes sense to play the season at all.
As of now, the league seems determined to play the full schedule of games for 2020, whether it be with stadiums partially full or completely empty, if necessary. Now that they’ve reduced the preseason to two games, and are under heavy pressure from the NFLPA to eliminate the two remaining games, one has to wonder what kind of product teams will be able to put on the field, especially early in the season. Teams such as the Dolphins, that have added a lot of new players and coaches in the offseason will be at a decided disadvantage.
If the league were to decide to scrap the entire season, what would that mean for the 2021 draft? Would teams simply pick in the same slots they did this past Spring, or would they hold an NBA style draft lottery for the first ten or fifteen picks? There’s no question that the league, as well as the television networks, want to see the entire season played, as do the fans; the question is, can it be done in a relatively safe and practical manner. The Dolphins have an exciting future ahead of them, but that future may very well be best served by waiting until next year to commence. Do we want to see all of our highly touted rookies and free agent acquisitions burn a year of contract eligibility in what could well amount to a lost season? It’s a question that, at some point, has to be asked.