The 2020 offseason has been anything but normal for the NFL due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Scouts, coaches, and team executives were pulled off the road early in the draft process and teams had to conduct their drafts remotely.
The country is slowly re-opening as trends regarding the virus improve, and just this week the New York Giants facilities were allowed to reopen. While it is widely expected that players won’t be in their teams’ facilities until training camp,
Speaking with Sports Illustrated, New Jersey Governor Murphy said that there is hope that fans can attend games at Met Life stadium this season.
Governor Murphy said, “I’ve spoken to Roger Goodell, we speak with the Giants and the Jets all the time. I think it’s too early to tell on fans. We’re taking at this point, baby steps and slowly but surely trying to get there beginning with the staffs, the coaches, the players and I think we have to see where it goes from here,”
He added, “The trends in New Jersey right now – we have over 12,000 fatalities – but the ones we talk about each day are folks that have been infected for weeks. You look at the other data for the past several weeks, it is all gotten really quite good. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re getting much, much better. If those trends keep up, you fast forward some months from now and you’ve been able to continue those trends, you’re in a very different place. We’re trying to do this incrementally. We’ll see and play it by ear as best we can. We’ll make a decision based on the data. The data right now is good.”
Gov. Murphy professes to be an avid sports fan himself, and hopes that all sports, from the youth level to the professional ranks, will be able to resume sooner rather than later.
“I would love that,” he said, “I mean I’m a huge sports fan. Jersey is a sports mecca and we have the rainbow of sports. Everything. Women’s and men’s. Girls and boys. I’d love nothing more than to responsibly get sports up and running at all levels by the way. As of June 22, we’re going to allow youth sports to begin non-contact training. At all levels, for mental health, for the sheer fun of it to get some semblance of normality back in our lives for all the above reasons. For the passions. Can’t wait, I can’t wait but we’ll do it responsibly. We’ll make the call based on what the data is telling us but I’d love to see us back in the full swing of sports.”
Sports are resuming around the globe, with baseball being played in South Korea, soccer (or as they call it “football”) being played in Germany, and NASCAR and Indy Car races being run in the United States. But so far all of them are taking place without fans.
The hope that America’s most popular sport will not only be able to resume, but be able to do so with fans in attendance is important, if only for a much-needed morale boost.
That being said,Murphy iwas careful to temper his optimism. September is still a long way away, and as 2020 has shown us time and again, things can change.
“Yes, there is a possibility [that fans can return to stadiums], it could be. But I can’t promise it. I don’t think anyone can,” Murphy said.
What happens between now and September is anyone’s guess. We certainly hope that fans will be able to safely go to games at some point this season, but we just don’t know what the future holds.