It’s not Christmas, but most sports fans probably have the same item atop their wish list. We’re craving the return of all things football.
We don’t care if it’s high school, college or pro – and preferably all three – we want to see blocking, tackling and touchdown celebrations.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has taken away most good-news, bad-news situations. Lately it’s been bad news, covered with more bad news, with a cherry on top of even worse news.
Logic would indicate there’s no way to go but up, right? Well, maybe.
We may want football back, but COVID-19 is not cooperating. If the upcoming return of the NBA and NHL are any indication, we can operate under the philosophy of where there’s a will there’s a way. However, I’m not sure how smoothly the NBA and NHL guidelines in place can translate to high school and college players.
Based on the reports I’ve been reading, NBA and NHL players are being forced to live pretty much in isolation with exception of the time they’re on the floor or on the ice. NHL players will be assigned a floor of a hotel with daily testing. They are to have no physical contact with their family, fans or the media.
“You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” Carolina Hurricanes forward Justin Williams told USA Today in a recent Zoom call. “But at this point, your weakest link can take down your whole team.”
NHL games will be played in the Canadian host cities of Toronto and Edmonton. The NBA will conduct business in much the same way with all games played at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
This mode of operation wouldn’t be possible for high school football because we can’t have teenagers staying in hotels away from their parents for months at a time. Who’s going to pay for the whole football team to stay at Scottish Inn, and do we really want them staying there? Probably not the best idea.
Major college football might have a better chance of playing the isolation game because of all the millions in TV revenue that’s at stake. But I’m not convinced it’s a system that can really be implemented with college kids likely sneaking out to do what college kids do.
If professional soccer can be used as a litmus test, we’ve already seen how games can be canceled because nine players on a team test positive for COVID-19. We’ll have to wait and see if that same scenario unfolds with the NBA and NHL.
It’s certainly easy to see the opportunity for a team to have to forfeit in the playoffs because of a virus outbreak, especially with the requirement to isolate for two weeks after a confirmed case.
We’ve been fortunate to see softball action in Centertown, Midway and Morrison in recent weeks and it’s been a great sight to see kids playing ball. When it comes to football, I know fans are eager to watch exciting gridiron action. No one wants to see seasons get punted.