“There Will Be NFL Football–Where-When-Nobody Knows”
We are two weeks out from the NFL Draft. Everybody has something to say about the situation. No one has any firm knowledge. Not President Trump, Commissioner Roger Goodell, or the Governors nor the people at CDC.
The most common place word uttered these days about our health and pro sports is “Fluid”
Here is a capsule of where things stand right now.
NFL DRAFT…It will go on April 23-24-25, in a Video Conference call setup. The NFL mandated all Owners-GMs-Scouts work from home and conference call in. Many states barred teams from working at closed facilities, so the NFL, to be fair to everyone, mandated a Video Conference. To complicate it, New Jersey-California have padlocked the NFL Network facilities because of the virus, so ESPN studios will be the epicenter of the broadcast, using a combined group of anchors from Bristol, that will also include NFL network personnel.
FORMAT…There will be live cut-ins to each team’s GM or Coach, not a war-room setup. The NFL has also lined up 58-potential draft picks and will do cut-ins with them around the country.
THE RISK…It will be different television production compared to past drafts, no fans, and probably a lot less production. And there will be risks if there are any IT-failures at any of these locations. And then additional fear is out there about possible hackers getting into the Video Conference systems, as happened last week when the NHL-NY Rangers introduced a just signed draft pick via video, and it was hacked with 45-racist messages posted on the screen.
THE COMMISSIONER…Goodell continues his public stance that he plans on having a full NFL season with the stands full of fans. That is ambitious, and that is not what the science and medicine people say. Goodell said Thursday the ‘NFL can help the country heal’. You can’t stay healthy if you open up stadiums and the virus breaks out again. But all that happens as Boston-Houston-Chicago take virus-crisis hits, proves this is not under control. New York is still reeling with upwards of 800-deaths a day still, each day more than the day before. Science says until the virus trends down everywhere, till there is testing everywhere, till there is a vaccine, America will not open up for business, neither will the NFL, regardless of what Goodell says.
THE SCHEDULE…The calendar is now working against the NFL, with all OTA’s normally held in April and May wiped off the books. It may be late June before limited minicamps can be held. The entire 4-game preseason schedule could be axed, so teams can just practice and prepare for whatever the season looks like. The NFL wants a 16-game schedule, but sources say they have devised a 12-game schedule too, that might not start till October 1st, if the pandemic is not under control in mid-summer. August 1st becomes a big day, start camp , or pushback the entire calendar.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL….At risk also are the Division 1-programs. Most already lost spring football. Now their own preseason camps are in jeopardy come early August. The NCAA oversight committee is looking at a pushback schedule too. Drop non-conference games, play your conference schedule, 8-or-9-games, starting October 1st, and hope you can get to the bowl seasons. The financial hits University’s are taking is monstrous. Not just revenue lost in athletics, no March Madness-and loss of football ticket revenue, but the fact these schools will have to refund dormitory and food fees when they shutdown classes and sent students home 2-months early. Can you spell catastrophe…’N-C-A-A’.
THE DAMAGE…The tsunami has not yet hit the NFL office on Park Avenue. The NBA appears to have lost over 2B in revenue, from tickets, TV rights, sponsorship deals with the season suspended. Baseball may not play till July 1st and has likely lost half of its revenue. Each time a home game in cancelled, that is 1M-less a baseball team normally takes in. We are looking at losing 3-months of home games for each club. Calculate that damage. And that does not even count what has to be discounted in TV revenue clubs get. The NHL wants to go to the playoffs directly, and had only 10-to-12 games each left on their regular season schedule, when the lights were turned out. The NFL losses financially will be huge if they were to lose upwards of four regular season game. President Trump says Americans should be prepared for ‘real pain’ the next two weeks. The NFL hasn’t felt pain yet. The Tidal wave has yet to hit Pro Football yet, but it is coming.
THE FANS: Seton Hall University just released a poll conducted nationwide in NFL cities and it was not favorable.
..61% said they would not attend a game until a Virus-vaccine is developed.
..72% said if the NFL-MLB-NBA starts up without a vaccine they would not go
..13% said they would feel safe at games
..76% said they would watch games on TV if fans are locked out.
THE DOCTORS: I tend to want to hear from science has to say rather than a President with a history of making generic, non-factual comments, lies-half truths-misinformation. Dr. Anthony Fauchi said last night, with over 460,000 cases of the virus reported, over 16,000 deaths in the US, that there is no ‘1-size fits all’ in terms of reopening the country. He said ‘America should not be reopened for business until we have control of this-and we don’t’.
The NFL’s favorite term come Draft Day is ‘on the clock’. We are counting down towards the NFL being ‘on the clock’ in terms of massive cancellations and financial losses next, regardless of how much fun NFL Virtual Draft Day is.
There will be NFL Football News coming. They are on the clock, and I fear it won’t be good.