You don’t need a sports blogger to tell you that 2020 has been a profoundly peculiar year, but yet another byproduct of that is that the behemoth that is football season is quietly sneaking up on us. This weekend brought a slate of high school football and an FBS game to TV. Next weekend will bring a smattering of FBS games. We are just 10 days from Chiefs-Texans and less than two weeks from the first glorious NFL Sunday.
There are myriad reasons football season is coming in like a lamb instead of a lion. The SEC, ACC, and Big 12 have delayed their starts by three weeks while the Big Ten and Pac-12 canceled their fall seasons (the B1G may or may not undo their cancellation). The NFL preseason, which we’ve all complained about incessantly for years, served as a reminder of what was to come. Training camp reports just don’t hit the same way.
The world is also glued to the news. At the margins, sports and news are substitute products and right now there’s a lot of real world news: A once in a century pandemic, severe economic disparity that was already on a decades-long trend and even more exacerbated by said pandemic, racial tensions, and a supremely polarizing election.
So many people told us there wouldn’t be sports again in 2020, but the NFL is stomping in. There are about 1,700 active roster players in the regular season, and thus right now, before final cuts, there are considerably more than that. Just three players are currently on the NFL’s reserve/Covid-19 list.
The next 10 days are going to feature massive scrambling to get fantasy drafts lined up. It was already one of the hardest things on the planet to get 10 people, whether you all live in one place or in the case of my leagues are dispersed across the country, to agree on one time for a draft. Now we’re going to have a situation where everyone is trying to figure this out on the fly.
This will be a very bizarre football season. There’s no doubt about that. NFL and big conference college football will feature at best a smattering of fans in the stands. Key players could miss games after testing positive for Covid-19. Some games may even need to be delayed. At least through early November, everyone will remain glued to news.
It’ll be fascinating to gauge how much interest remains in football during this bizarre year, but I know that I’m super excited for it.