The 2020 football landscape has changed dramatically in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It forced most of the pre-NFL Draft process to be canceled or altered and has all but wiped out the offseason training activities and minicamps that generally take place in May and June. While minicamps may still take place, it’s looking like training camp is the next big event on the preseason calendar, but there will be some changes to that as well.
Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the NFL has instructed teams to hold training camp at their team facilities. For the Dallas Cowboys, this means canceling their trip to Oxnard, California, where they’ve hosted training camp for years. Instead, they’ll be practicing solely at their facility in Frisco, TX, The Star.
Schefter goes on to mention that the reason for the move to keep teams home is to limit the need for travel and take away the need for organizations to have to manage two facilities.
In addition to the normal activities that go on at an NFL facility each day, the teams will have to initiate precautions to minimize the spread of COVID-19. They might require daily disinfecting, temperature stations at the entrance to the facility, daily testing of all players and personnel, and contact tracing for any individual that tests positive for COVID-19.
Per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, teams will not be able to hold joint practices this Summer to mitigate any risk of spreading COVID-19 from team to team and facility to facility.
While it remains to be seen if there will be a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases as businesses and the NFL world attempt to get back to business as usual, the NFL will take precautions to minimize the risk of exposure and team to team contamination until they have to play games.
The Dallas Cowboys have hosted joint practices often as a way to mix up the competition and see another team and another scheme across from them.
There’s still a chance that the NFL season is delayed in part as we wait to see if COVID-19 will see a second surge as social distancing and isolation begin to wane. With most of America starting to open back up, there’s still the potential in a spike of cases. Much of what happens with the NFL season this year will be determined by the state of the United States as it relates to COVID-19.
The NFL will still have a season; however, it could be an abridged form of the typical 16 game season and playoffs.