While it’s still over three months away, the start of the 2020 NFL regular season could be impacted by COVID-19. Even if games aren’t cancelled the venues may still have to be changed based on state-by-state orders and circumstances. One writer has projected that this could actually work in the Dallas Cowboys’ favor, giving them a ninth home game this season.
So far the NFL has been able to have business as usual compared to other professional sports leagues in 2020. Marquee offseason activity such as free agency and the draft have come and gone despite the limitations imposed by COVID-19.
Sure, we’re now seeing things like rookie camps, mini-camps, and Organized Team Activities being held virtually. But the truly significant impacts won’t come until late July if training camps and preseason games are affected.
“Around the Horn” veteran Tim Cowlishaw of The Dallas Morning News wrote yesterday about the potential for even Week One of the regular season to be altered by COVID-19. In this case, the Cowboys’ season opener against the Rams may not be able to occur in Los Angeles.
If the realities of Coronavirus in September could be determined now then we’d probably see a neutral venue selected for the game. But the NFL has been consistent in its optimism thus far with the pandemic; they’re going to keep the game in Los Angeles as scheduled until it’s clearly not a viable option.
This isn’t just any old home game for the Rams. This is supposed to be the grand opening of SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, complete with the NFL’s more marketable franchise coming to town to help kick things off.
But it’s possible that Los Angeles, or just California as a whole, will still be too embroiled in COVID-19 to host an NFL game. And thus the NFL will likely choose relocating it to Dallas as the best alternative.
However, as Cowlishaw mentions in his article, that doesn’t mean Cowboys fans will get to see it. The possibility of early-season NFL games occurring without spectators has been put out there, most notably by FOX Sports’ Joe Buck earlier this week.
There is still so much to be determined about the 2020 season as it pertains to COVID-19. We can only hope that things return to normal and this game goes on in Los Angeles as planned; a positive outcome for all parties.
But again, as all life seems to be these days, we’re waiting for more information.