The virus led to shuffled schedules, together with a Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers recreation being performed on a Wednesday afternoon. The Denver Broncos needed to play a recreation with out a quarterback. Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski was pressured to overlook his crew’s playoff highway win towards the Steelers as a result of he had examined constructive for the virus.
However not a single recreation was canceled this NFL season regardless of the pandemic, and now only one recreation stays with Tremendous Bowl LV. And that is one thing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell referred to as “a unprecedented collective effort.”
“There’s so many individuals that needed to work collectively to get this executed,” Goodell instructed reporters in his annual Tremendous Bowl information convention. “There have been doubters. Clearly, there have been individuals that did not imagine we may do it. Clearly, we had plenty of unknowns ourselves.
“However we believed that staying on schedule and dealing in direction of making an attempt to get to 256 video games executed — as we type of say shorthand, keep away from the asterisk. I believe we had been ready to try this, however we have nonetheless bought just a few days left right here, so we’re centered on ensuring we end out sturdy.”
There have been scares all through the season, with outbreaks occurring on groups together with the Tennessee Titans and Ravens.
Goodell admitted Thursday in Tampa, Florida, that there have been intervals of time when there was uncertainty the league may get a deal with on coping with the virus.
“It began in Tennessee the place we weren’t positive how one can management this, what was making this,” Goodell stated. “These had been some anxious days, there is not any query about it.
“However we believed in our medical specialists. We believed within the protocols. We had been in a position to get that beneath management, and we realized lots from that, that we then utilized and altered, and I believe that helped us.
“After which after we had, for example the Baltimore case, we had been in a position to establish that faster, however we had been in a position to establish the place the supply was higher. Each stage we realized from that in with the ability to establish this and isolate.
“Our entire idea right here was to not keep away from positives. We knew that that was not attainable if you’re coping with 7,500 individuals simply in our system primarily, who had been being examined virtually day by day. That was not going to occur. However the thought is to check incessantly, establish when you may have a constructive and isolate.”
Goodell stated 1.2 million followers attended NFL video games this season. There can be round 25,000 followers in attendance for Tremendous Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Sunday, and attendees can be offered PPE kits from the league.
“We would like our followers to be secure,” Goodell stated. “They should be good. They should put on their PPE.”
The NFL is taking a look at the potential of rising regular-season video games from 16 to 17 in 2021, because the league has the discretion within the collective bargaining settlement to implement that as quickly as this yr.
It hasn’t been determined if worldwide video games can be on the schedule in 2021, and it is also not but identified what fan attendance will appear to be subsequent season and what varieties of Covid-19 protocols can be wanted for gamers.
“I want I knew the reply to that,” Goodell stated. “One of many issues that I believe I’ve realized and I believe all of us have realized is strive to not challenge too far upfront as a result of it is tough to do. … I do know this: We have realized to function in a really tough setting. We’ve discovered options, and we’ll do it once more.”