As of this morning, everyone involved in the NFL is still planning to have a season. At least that's what they're saying publicly. Behind closed doors, the idea that the doors have already closed may be more prevalent. And while we're hoping against hope that there can be a complete, ethical, and satisfying campaign of American's most popular sport, we should understand that it's all going to be new and different.
Peter Schrager touched on this during Good Morning Football, pointing out that some of the most valuable team personnel won't be wearing jerseys. Schrager identified trainers, infection control officers, and strength and conditioning coaches as Da Real MVPs of 2020.
It's an astute bit of commentary. It also should leave the viewer feeling a bit unsettled about it all. Because it's becoming clear that athletic pursuits in the COVID world are really health contests between organizations amid a global pandemic. Those that manage it well will succeed on the scoreboard and on the standings page, which is certainly important. But those who don't will not simply be losing competitive advantage. They'll be putting needless lives at risk.
This will truly be a year of appreciating everything that's going into playing football. Or basketball. Or baseball. While at the same time wondering if such efforts are reflective of the indomitable human spirit or craven capitalism.
The answer can, and probably will be, a little of both.