Read the news. Just read it.
Every page has a sports headline relating to college football or the NFL, and how literally every person who watches sports has probably been affected by a high volume of cancelled football games. Maryland just had a COVID spike so they had to cancel their game against Michigan State this past Saturday; Wisconsin has only played 3 games this season (of a possible 5) and their game vs Minnesota this week has been cancelled due to Minnesota’s Coronavirus spike; the SEC has been rocked with COVID cases; college football hit 100 cancelled or postponed games before the Big Ten or Pac-12 even began their games. The NFL, meanwhile, is barely trudging on and limping to avoid teams not playing their full sixteen-game schedules.
The football season was most worrisome after seeing the MLB fight the virus. Eventually, baseball sought the end of the season with the Los Angeles Dodgers finally winning the World Series in October, and my New York Mets offering me another disappointing season, except for the fact that they finally have an owner with more than three brain cells.
And sure, I have no allegiance to this football season either. A Michigan native, Jim Harbaugh is actively throwing away his reputation as a coach, or legacy in the sport. How ironic, Jim, after fighting tooth and nail for college football to be played this fall, and now you might end up unemployed. Michigan State isn’t even watchable and their new coach would be lucky to march to three wins. And the Detroit Lions…yuck. After bringing back the absolute garbage that is this moronic head coach for another year after winning nine games in two seasons, wasting a first-round draft pick on a defensive back that has done nothing but play poorly…a real organization would’ve fired this blockhead after his first year as coach, but sadly this entire franchise is gutter trash, and there’s no end in sight.
So yeah, I have zero reason to watch any football games, and watching the Lions get outmatched to a team with less than four wins, only to whine about it later is not fun, I promise.
Prior to the season, I was interested in seeing professional football, very mildly. The virus seemed like it was heading in an okay direction, enough protocols would set us on track. And then it got worse.
The college argument.
College football should’ve never happened. Obviously, the SEC wouldn’t have let that happen, there’s too much money to be made. (Even though, SEC commisoner Greg Sankey did actually express his concern — which was very much warranted.)
An estimate revealed that a cancelled college football season would cause Disney’s ESPN networks to lose nearly $800m in advertising revenue. That doesn’t even count for the amount that ESPN would lose in revenue to the ACC Network, SEC Network — which ESPN owns — or ESPN’s digital advertising on ESPN+.
In pro football, players are paid, they have agents and negotiators for them, and they even have a player union. In college football, despite constant efforts for more than a decade now, players have none of that. Even if players lacked pay, leverage for a union or representation would make waves for a season such as this one.
Let me throw a scenario at you: prior to this season starting, say a star running back with lots of potential expresses concern with this year’s Coronavirus outbreak. If I were a player, honestly I’d question playing too. If a team isn’t very competitive — and by competitive, I mean playoff-competitive, where only four teams actually make it — I wouldn’t want to risk injury playing another season. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence already got COVID, despite being in his junior season and is already the projected number one overall draft pick to the Jets next year, if he declares for the draft early. He might’ve thrown away his Heisman chances after his diagnosis. There’s obvious worry and, the point here is, I wouldn’t put it past coaches to use a player’s playing status (or lack thereof) against them.
It’s not working.
College football is limping to the finish line.
A week ago, the entire state of Michigan cancelled all sporting activities besides college football/basketball and professional sports. The Coronavirus pandemic will ravage through this holiday season, especially with Thanksgiving being yesterday and Christmas on the way. This weekend, several teams will be playing football games and Denver has all four quarterbacks on the sideline because they’ve been exposed to the virus — and the team isn’t forfeiting despite literally not having a quarterback to dress.
The lack of leadership with the virus, among those in government and executives at ESPN, at Fox, at the Big Ten and SEC and other conferences, and even the NFL, is ruining our chances of coming away from this thing unscathed. 250,000 in the U.S. have already lost their lives to the pandemic.
How much is a life worth anyway?