It's the question every NFL fan wants answered, and Pittsburgh Steelers perennial All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey believes he has what they're looking for. The jury remains out on if there will be professional football in 2020, but there has been progress that suggests it's coming. The league recently allowed the reopening of team facilities and, on June 5, . Players are still banned from doing so though, but a joint memo on June 8 from the NFL and NFLPA laid forth COVID-19 (coronavirus) protocols that hint at a potential return of players soon, assuming local law permits it and each team follows the guidelines to the letter -- to satisfy social distancing requirements.
So does this mean training camp will begin as scheduled, in addressing the latter, noting his wholehearted belief there will be football this coming autumn.? Does it mean the preseason will go on as planned and, subsequently, the NFL regular season? In a recent interview with 93.7FM The Fan's 'The Cook and Joe Show', Pouncey could not be more clear
"1000 percent," Pouncey said, via Steelers Depot. "They won't give us money without us playing. We came back in 2011 with a lockout as well. I get guys are gonna get injured. Guys are gonna get injured every year".
The league is taking extraordinary measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and many states around the country have already begun reopening in phases. Texas, as one example, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans directly impacted, but there's still a chance football is played without fans in the stands, be it by their own choice or the fact teams simply don't want to take on the added liability just yet., and is allowing sports arenas to house up to 50 percent capacity -- should fans be ready to return. The implications there are obvious, with both the
The NFL is planning for all manner of contingency in 2020, and Pouncey believes it's time to get back to work.
"We also have the flu every year, and also have 50,000 car crashes every year, but we're in a car right now", he said, alluding to ongoing deaths caused by COVID-19. "We've already tried to lock down the world for as long as we can. This is a working country. I get it.
"Do we have to be as safe as possible? Yeah, we do. But to not be able to come back and play sports and football when we're young and healthy? Every single year, guys come in, they catch the flu, they get a cold, they get everything, and the next thing you know, they come back the next week and everything's fine".
There are, of course, counterpoints to Pouncey's argument.
There's a proven difference between the flu and what COVID-19 does, and there's also no vaccine for the latter, which is the main sticking point for those who are against a premature attempt to return to normalcy -- if it involves blowing past road signs to achieve that goal. A player or staffer who contracts COVID-19 isn't guaranteed to be just fine after a few days, must be quarantined and monitored closely, and those who've been in contact with them recently must undergo testing to help stem the spread of it (unlike the flu, which can be vaccinated against rather easily). Additionally, while auto accidents led to 39.404 deaths in 2019 -- per the National Safety Council -- the CDC confirms 110,925 deaths from COVID-19 and counting.
Being "young and healthy" is also proven to be mostly inconsequential, as fatalities from the virus cover a spectrum of ages and levels of health.
So while the league obviously supports Pouncey's want of kicking off the regular season as planned, it won't and can't do so without the green light of the NFLPA, who is still working with the NFL to figure out the safest way to proceed. Odds are looking better daily for NFL football as early as September, but nothing is promised just yet.