Great news for any and all sports fans came Monday when both California Gov. Gavin Newsom and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed the media and not only permitted but encouraged the practice of professional sports just without fans.
This is huge news considering both states were digging their heels in on possibly not continuing seasons at all for any sports franchises until 2021. The NFL released its schedule three weeks later than usual in an attempt to make the games more flexible in case the California and New York teams had to be moved to surrounding states.
Roger Goodell and Co. in the NFL office made it known it would move its California teams to Arizona, where they would share the Cardinals’ stadium and play multiple games a day there. This put tremendous pressure on the California government which wouldn’t be able to claimt he taxes off the league’s hundreds of millions of dollars coming in from television revenue and other sources if that were to happen.
While states would receive some benefit, they wouldn’t be receiving their full compensation.
This move by Goodell has potentially opened the floodgates for sports to at least come back even if it is without fans.
Basketball’s season has been ruined whether the NBA resumes play or not and baseball will definitely be different, but as far as football is concerned this is huge news for the NFL, which is normally just getting back from break and going to work at this time.
High school and college football have a high probability of sloppy play at the beginning of the season, but hey, it’s better than no football at all.
There are expected to be extremely strict testing guidelines for players at practices and games. When teams can finally return to practices the first week of June, they are planning on training certain groups during certain hours to keep groups of players small.
Quarterbacks tend to be early risers, so I expect them to practice early in the morning and instead of being in the facility studying film for hours, they can do it at home.
This virus is going to be a real test of who wants it more and who can be trusted when no one is looking. Players will be expected to take care of their bodies and minds outside of the facility.
Players were doing a good job of staying at home and staying out of trouble — that is, until this past Saturday when four NFL players were arrested, all involving gun charges. Players have gotten much better at policing themselves over the past few years, mostly due to Goodell’s hammer he brought down on guys like Ray Rice and Greg Hardy who were essentially black balled out of football even though they had juice left in the tank.
Once guys get back into the facility and get around teammates they will reset, refocus and get back to staying out of trouble.
The MLB and NBA owners should thank Roger Goodell for forcing the hand of the government for sports to come back and making them money again. Goodell continues to impress and have one of the great career turnarounds I can ever remember. The man was booed and ridiculed for years, but over the past half-decade has become the hero of football — if not all sports.