NFL’s shortened preseason may disappear: What about regular season?

NFL Honors logo. Credit: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports.
NFL Honors logo. Credit: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports.

The NFL’s preseason has already been shortened from four-to-two games; will it disappear altogether this year?

According to Robert Griffin III, a curious case as a former star player, his sources say the preseason won’t happen at all:

That’s an interesting concept considering the NFL is carrying on with business as usual for their regular season to this point. And, for fans, cutting the preseason in half seemed like the perfect way to go. They’re not complaining about missing watching glorified scrimmages with backups on the field.

However, zero preseason games would almost certainly have a lasting effect on both the starters — consider the Denver Broncos’ complete overhaul on offense — as well as the bench guys, as the front offices use those games to evaluate the talent on their team. Backups, especially those deep on the depth chart, utilize the preseason to show off their talents, earn more snaps and sometimes sneakily find their way onto the roster.

That talent evaluation will be much more difficult this season if teams can only practice against themselves.

And, if there’s no preseason, the lack of live-game practice will mean the first few weeks of the regular season will be even sloppier than usual. That is, if we have a season at all.

Being in the middle of a pandemic is one thing, especially when the deadly virus spreads through breathing and physical contact, but forging on as the NFL is doing will only hurt them in the end.

Major League Baseball finally, after long last, announced it’s extremely shortened, 60-game season which begins at the end of this month. Hey, it’s something at least. Meanwhile, in that league, stars like Charlie Blackmon are contracting COVID-19 while others, like Ian Desmond, are opting to sit out due to health concerns.

Keep in mind that baseball is a game with social distancing basically built in. Football is not.

In Australia and New Zealand they’re playing rugby and Australian rules football, which are more similar to football in terms of coming into contact with other humans throughout the game. However, it’s important to note New Zealand has basically eliminated the Coronavirus on their island and Australia is head and shoulders ahead of the United States in their fight to stay healthy.

And, now that they’re experiencing a spike (191 new cases), Australia has acted quickly to create a “hard boundary” around Melbourne for six weeks, ending the Victoria Football League’s season.

Conversely, the United States’ exceptionalism has us leading the world in new cases with 50,000-plus a day lately. The US just dropped out of the World Health Organization during a pandemic and the country’s lack of leadership from the top actively delayed testing in the beginning of the year and has consistently sent mixed messaging about wearing masks throughout this time of uncertainty.

Those in the media community who want to see the season played in full — both at the NFL and college levels — keep urging fans to wear masks. Wearing a mask now means playing football in the fall, fans.

Well, we may already be past that point of no return.

Those who have fought mask-wearing to this point and continue to, those who believe partying in giant crowds is OK; you’re the reason we won’t have an NFL season this year. Or, if we do, it’ll be extremely shortened.

And that brings us back full-circle. If the preseason was cut from four-to-two games, and we now expect it to be cut completely, it’s only a matter of time until the regular season is delayed. And then, games will start getting canceled.

And, if we’re really unlucky — if the virus keeps raging like it has in America, unlike in the European Union, Canada, New Zealand and other first-world countries — there will be no NFL season at all.

Fans need to prepare for that reality because, as of now, they seemingly expect a full-on, 16-game season. Dream on, NFL fans.

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