In terms of sports leagues striving to return amid the coronavirus crisis, the NFL has a distinct advantage over others in that its season ended shortly before the pandemic began sweeping the globe.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading infectious disease expert, recently spoke with NBC Sports columnist Peter King about the possibility of the 2020 NFL season being carried out during COVID-19, and he allowed for plenty of advancements, though he held firm that the virus ultimately decides what type of campaign we're able to execute.
Fauci acknowledged that, so long as players, staff, and officials test negative, it would be "feasible" to play games in empty stadiums. He event went as far as to say that he could picture a scenario where up to a third (or half) of the stadium's capacity is permitted in, especially in certain areas. Of course, fans would need to remain socially distanced during the games.
"If you fast forward, and it is now September," said Fauci. "The season starts. I say you can’t have a season—it’s impossible. There’s too much infection out there. It doesn’t matter what you do. But I would hope that by the time you get to September it’s not gonna be the way it is right now."
In sum, Fauci believes that the curve of COVID-19 will flatten enough by September to the point where an NFL season can be played. However, the league might have no choice but to suspend things if a seismic second waves manages to emerge.
All we can do in the meantime is exercise patience, but Fauci's comments should leave football fans feeling optimistic about the 2020 season starting on time.