Virtual offseason planned for the NFL due to the Coronavirus

By America Lopez-Santiago
May 8, 2020

As of right now, the world has been put on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. No one is allowed to go outside unless they are getting groceries or have an essential job. Another thing is that sports leagues across the country have been postponed until further notice. Some sports leagues are even trying to go virtual. 

Right now, the one sport that has escaped the postponement of their season in the National Football League (NFL) since their regular season doesn’t start until September. However, they haven’t escaped completely unscratched. Some teams offseason was scheduled to begin on April 6 of this year. The teams that were going to start on April 6 were going to be the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers because they were going to be working with new head coaches. However, now facilities are currently closed and players still won’t be able to enter the facilities once they reopen. 

“This is going to be an injury-riddled mistake-filled season where people don’t know where to line up, and timing between quarterbacks and receivers is off,” Chris Burbano, a football fan, said.

New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers. Photo provided by America Lopez-Santiago

 Right now, the NFL is working with the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) to launch a virtual offseason, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. This process has been delayed for a couple of weeks. Teams will be sending tools like iPads to the players so that they can use them voluntarily at home.  

 The virtual offseason is an attempt from the league to make sure the players are engaged during this time. The NFL and the NFLPA have agreed to a deal that will let the teams send Apple watches, kettlebells, bands and other training equipment to players.

The virtual program for the league is expected to begin April 20 for teams that have new head coaches. April 27 will be the beginning for the rest of the teams, and it will run through May 15. On May 18, the teams will be able to continue offseason work either on the field if all the facilities are open or virtually. 

 For the virtual period, teams will have workouts, classroom instructions and non-football educational programs using any virtual based platforms. No team will be able to practice face to face until all the facilities are open even only if there is one closed. The on-field period will start for all the teams once all NFL facilities have reopened, and all the offseason workout programs will end for all the teams on June 26

Felix Lopez reading Tom Pelissero’s tweet on virtual offseason. Photo provided by America Lopez-Santiago.

 “Both our Executive committee and Board of Player Reps have voted unanimously to approve a virtual offseason program up until the start of training camp,” NFLPA, said in a statement. “We will be sending out all the details and setting up calls with players and agents for how this will work shortly.”

“It’s going to be hard for the players to get used to the virtual offseason,” Noah Piper, Eagles fan, said. “However, it might be harder for the rookies because they won’t be able to create that bond. It’s important for the player to be united with one another.”

 If COVID-19 is still an issue and the United States is still under quarantine, the teams will have to conduct a mandatory veteran minicamp in a virtual manner. The teams will have two hours to work out and two hours of classroom time. 

“It will affect this season because it’s not going to be the same,” Jesus Santiago, sports fan, said. “Sporting events are group activities. You have to make sure you and your teammates are on the same page, and that’s hard to do virtually.”

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America Lopez-Santiago

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