Rodney Harrison casts doubt on potential 2020 NFL season during COVID-19

New England Patriots, NFL

The NFL and its fans may want football, but it’s not that simple, per Rodney Harrison.

The NFL is a business first and foremost, which explains why the owners, at least at this point in the offseason, seem bullish about the season starting on time this Fall. Commissioner Roger Goodell, for his part, has done what he can to work with the NFLPA in enacting safety measures to ensure players aren’t walking into a COVID-19 trap come training camp.

Several players and coaches have already expressed some concern over resuming team activities given the sudden resurgence of the virus in the United States. Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison understand where they’re coming from.

Rodney Harrison cast some doubt on the NFL season starting on time, and he may have a point.

Harrison suggests the NFL is a physical league at its core, even with recent rule changes meant to encourage less contact. Every facet of the game incites closeness, even huddles. For this to truly work, the league and its officials must alter the basics, rather than limiting themselves to the overarching issues concerning other sports, such as whether or not fans will be able to attend.

“In football, you have to breathe on people,” Harrison said. “You have to tackle people, you spit on people. Guys have cuts, guys cough. . . . I don’t know how we’re going to have a season.”

Harrison is correct, and this is without bringing up the obvious toughness factor in football, and the desire not to let down one’s teammates. In such a QB-driven league, are the game’s best players going to voluntarily come out in the heat of the action after potentially coming in contact with the virus when doing so puts their team at an obvious disadvantage?

“Competitively, it’s an unfair advantage,” Harrison said. “If Atlanta’s playing against Tampa Bay and Matt Ryan comes down with coronavirus, then the Falcons probably won’t even have a chance.”

Asking athletes to counteract their normal, competitive nature is not something that will come naturally to them. While it’s a necessary adjustment, it may take some time, and one slip-up could cost the NFL its season which is already arguably hanging by a thread.

Next: 10 bold predictions for the 2020 NFL season

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