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Covid-19: Will the NFL Be Suspended This Year? Top 30 Experts Share Their Opinions

The 2020 NFL Season is set to start on September 10th and will run all the way till January 3rd. But with the Covid-19 pandemic, much speculation has been going around that the NFL will either be suspended mid-season, or worse – not even push through at all.

Reports say that after weeks of negotiation between the NFL and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA),  both parties have agreed to give the choice to the players if they want to sit out the entire 2020 season.[1]

While that could be a gamechanger for most teams – especially when players in the starting line-up decide not to play – there would still be several levels of negotiation between the player and the team’s general manager about contract and payment.

Despite this sudden turnout of events, fans are still expecting a complete line-up for all teams. With this, we reached out to NFL experts about their opinions and expectations about the upcoming season. Check them out!

#1 Justin Barton, Former Florida State Football Player

Twitter: @JustinBartonNY
Website: Black Enterprise 

The NFL television contract is extremely lucrative, along with merchandising and licensing, it is reported that each team received $255M last year, before any local revenue was included like ticket sales and concessions.  The NFL would still be sustainable even if fans are not allowed in the stadiums.”

#2 Richard Carni, Producer, Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan

Twitter: @RichieCarni
Website: The Fan 104.3 FM

“There is simply too much money involved. The NFL generates more revenue than the NBA, NHL and MLB by a fairly wide margin. Nearly 30 of the top 50 most valuable sports franchises in the world are NFL teams. Roger Goodell and the 32 owners will work tirelessly to ensure their revenue stream continues to flow. 

The NFL has also benefited from the timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adam Silver, Gary Bettman and Rob Manfred all had the rug pulled abruptly from beneath them in early March, while Roger Goodell had the opportunity to adapt and prepare for start of his season. The other leagues crawled, so that the NFL could walk. 

Now that the other three major sports leagues have finalized their return-to-play protocols, the groundwork has been laid for professional football to be played In 2020. 

I fully expect the NFL regular season and playoffs to be played on time, and likely with some semblance of fans in the stands. Sacrifices will be made and the product won’t look quite the same as usual, but the show will go on.”

#3 Wayne Dupree

Twitter: @WayneDupreeShow
Website: Wayne Dupree

The NFL has lost fans over the past few years due to the National Anthem kneeling and most stadiums were not filled to capacity. The NFL will find a way to make it work and make “some” money even if the players are on the field playing to an empty stadium. Commercial deals will still reign in dollars and something is better than nothing. They are not in business to take full-scale losses.“

#4 KJ Johnson, Fantasy Football Expert

Twitter: @FanTeamAdvice
Website: Fantasy Team Advice

“There’s too much money on the line.  Much like we are seeing with MLB / NBA some players may sit out for health reasons, but with low risk for healthy athletes with no underlying health conditions I think most will want to participate and make that money”

#5 Joe Johnson, Owner/Senior Writer

Twitter: @vtPTSD
Website: Vikings Territory

“The NFL teams could essentially go to Europe and play in the stadiums that NFL Europe played in. If not for that, my fear is that the NFL won’t have a season this year which while I do cover the league for a living wouldn’t be as bad as the league losing a player or coach to the virus. Despite the $10 billion a year in revenue the league does create, there is no dollar sign that is bigger than a human life and I strongly believe that if the league did end up playing in Europe it wouldn’t have to make the decision between money and human life.”

#6 Joe Mauceri, Podcaster & Fantasy Football Expert

Twitter: @JoeTheReporter
Website: Wingfoot Sports

“Yes, I think the NFL will be suspended. We are in the middle of spikes across the country.  This was supposed to be the quiet time for the virus.  When the fall and winter hit, I think we are going to see another spike that could be worse.  Throw in the fact that right now the NFL plans to travel and I think there will be even more exposure for players, coaches, staff and everyone else involved.  Until there is a vaccine, I think it will greatly impact sports as we know it.”

#7 David Rumsey, Assistant Editor

Twitter: @_DavidRumsey
Website: Sports Business Daily

I believe the NFL will make every effort possible to play a season, most likely without fans, and turn over every stone to avoid canceling games. Primary limitations would vary by state, depending on regulations – probably limited capacity (under 50%) in some stadiums and no fans in others.”

#8 Amanda Scurlock, Sports Writer

Twitter: @Amandtastic
Website: Los Angeles Sentinel

Other leagues are continuing their seasons. The WNBA and the NBA will play in Florida in late July and the MLB just announced their return to competition”

#9 Cedric “BIG CED” Thornton, Author

Twitter: @bigced
Website: Black Enterprise

There’s too much money that would be lost if the season is suspended. Too many fans would revolt if games weren’t played, even if they aren’t allowed in attendance. People still need their sports fix and the NFL owners would still want their product to be seen.”

#10 Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann, Writer/Editor for SB Nation

Twitter: @docllv
Website: Mile High Report

The NFL makes too much money for the networks and owners and even the players, and I believe they will do everything they can to make sure that money gets made. I’m not convinced they should have a season – even though I really want to watch some football – but I don’t believe Americans are very good at handling “restrictions,” so I don’t think social distancing at games will work, and I don’t know how much fun a “no audience” season would be after a while. But I’ll definitely be tuning in if they do it.”

#11 Jonathan Jones, Senior NFL reporter

Twitter: @jjones9
Website: CBS Sports

“The NFL schedule has been built in a way that it can slide games back. It’s very possible we don’t finish the regular season until later in January. The NFL wishes to hold a full 17-week regular season slate plus a full postseason.

But at this point, reasonable minds agree that the NFL will be played without sold-out stadiums. This is because suspending the season would represent a loss of billions of dollars. If the decision is between not playing or playing in front of no fans, the league is obviously going to choose the one that keeps billions of dollars in its pockets.”

#12 Nora Princiotti, Staff Writer

Twitter: @NoraPrinciotti
Website: The Ringer

“In the United States, beyond following state and local guidelines, the NFL has to set its own policy. That means only interested parties will be involved in writing the rules, with all the inevitable squabbles and potential choices between safety and job performance that brings. The number of variables is getting overwhelming, especially for players getting antsy waiting to take physicals and finalize contracts signed earlier in the offseason. When was the last time someone gave you a satisfying answer about the future?

Sports are supposed to be one reward of a well-functioning society. The league’s timeline asks that sports function better than society. That’s looking like a steeper challenge by the minute.”

#13 JP Finlay, Redskins Insider

Twitter: @jpfinlaynbcs
Website: NBC Sports


That’s the world the NFL will enter, eventually, when players, coaches and full staffs start to reconvene, none of which is unique to the NFL.

Coronavirus is everywhere. That’s the world. The NFL exists in that world.

In the NFL it seems almost a certainty there will be a season. But with the inevitability of more positive COVID-19 tests, how that season will play out remains a mystery. “

#14 Ron Miller, Contributor

Twitter: @ron_miller
Website: TechCrunch

“If and when games resume, the way we watch live sports will probably change as well. Chances are we’ll see changes big and small. Spitballing some ideas, there could be live interactive communities in which the players participate with fans. There could be wider use of microphoned players and coaches on and off the field as we get a look behind the curtain. The possibilities are endless, and you can be sure there are many discussions going on across every sport, pro and college, about how this could work.”

#15 Jeremy Reisman, Managing Editor

Twitter: @DetroitOnLion
Website: Pride Of Detroit

It’s one thing to start a season, but many are concerned that a single outbreak in the NFL could derail an entire season and cause a disruption or complete stoppage in play. But, again, NFL agents remain fairly hopeful.”

#16 Patrik Walker, Sports Journalist

Twitter: @VoiceOfTheStar
Website: CBS Sports

“Distancing while playing football is literally impossible, by the way, as noted by coaches John Harbaugh and Sean McVay. Positive tests seem like an inevitability, and that’s why this coming season could unfortunately be tainted when it’s all said-and-done, regardless of how entertaining it might be.”

#17 Sayre Bedinger, Site Expert

Twitter: @SayreBedinger
Website: NFL Mocks

“Because nothing in the sports world is ‘normal’ right now, we are heading into a real-life version of an alternate story universe, one where our new reality in 2020 and 2021 as it relates to the football world is going to be tremendously different than if there were no pandemic and the season were being played as planned.

The way things appear to be headed at this present moment, if there’s a shortened college season or no season at all, the 2021 NFL Draft could be on a very strange alternate timeline where things that never happen because a pandemic didn’t allow them to happen force NFL teams to go with what they know based on information up to 2019.”

#18 Charles McDonald, Senior NFL Writer

Twitter: @FourVerts
Website: Daily News

The NFL has a dilemma on their hands: It’s impossible to play football, as it’s currently constructed at least, and keep everyone safe from the coronavirus.”

#19 Jesse Reed, Managing Editor

Twitter: @JesseReed78
Website: Sportsnaut

It’s a tricky question. The NFL is moving forward as if it’s a foregone conclusion that the 2020 NFL season will be played. On time, as the schedule dictates, with the first game being played on Thursday night, Sept. 10, in Kansas City.”

#20 Bryan Perez, Bears Writer

Twitter: @BryanPerezNFL
Website: NBC Sports

The elephant in the room is the economic side of all this. It’s one thing to agree on how to safely play the game, it’s another to agree on whether it’s the owners or players (or both) who should pay the price for that safety. And as we’ve seen with baseball, it can get ugly real quick.”

#21 Michael Hurley

Twitter: @MichaelFhurley
Website: CBS Boston

“In any event, we can all wish a sincere good luck to the NFL in figuring out the rest of this predicament. It’s a league that operated from day one of the pandemic as if the league would somehow be immune to feeling any of its effects but is now scrambling to make things happen expeditiously in order to put football on the field this fall.

If they somehow pull it off … then kudos to them. Suffice it to say, we can all live without jersey swaps if everything else manages to magically get solved.”

#22 Yoni Heisler, Contributor

Twitter: @EdibleApple
Website: BGR

“While it’s one thing to hold NFL games without a crowd, it’s hard to imagine the NFL season proceeding as planned if the league can’t even come up with a way to protect its players. And unless players are willing to be tested every day per Fauci’s remarks — which itself may not be practical — there’s a chance that 2020 could be the first full year we go without NFL football.”

#23 Nevada Cullen

Twitter: @NevadaCullen
Website: ESPN WRUF

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one large unknown for the NFL is how the league will account for the loss of revenue. Player salaries and team salary caps could suffer. There are also questions as to whether players can opt out of the season. “

#24 Ben Volin, Senior NFL Writer

Twitter: @BenVolin
Website: Boston Globe

“For the NFL to have a chance of pulling off its season amid a global pandemic, the first few days of training camp will be crucial for catching and quarantining those with positive tests and not allowing the virus to take root inside team facilities.”

#25 John McClain, NFL Writer

Twitter: @McClain_on_NFL
Website: Houston Chronicle

The NFL wants the show to go on, so I expect the season to start on time without fans. As long as teams have enough healthy players, I think they’ll play. There’s a lot of money to be made. I do think there’ll be interruptions. We’d be foolish to think the season will go smoothly.”

#26 Darryl Slater, NFL Analyst

Twitter: @DarrylSlater
Website: NJ Advance Media

The NFL has continued to maintain that it plans to complete the 2020 season as scheduled, despite the pandemic. The league is leaving it up to localities and teams to determine whether stadiums will have no fans or limited attendance, based on state regulations. It’s still not clear if Giants games at MetLife Stadium will have fans this season.”

#27 Ed Graney, Sports Columnist

Twitter: @EdGraney
Website: Las Vegas Review-Journal

“The NFL can, pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement, impose a report date for camp. It also can fine players and forfeit their bonuses and salary for not doing so.

But forcing the issue now would exhibit a ridiculous level of narcissism and greed, even for the NFL. I’m just not sure how much it cares.”

#28 Mike Preston, Sports Columnist

Twitter: @MikePrestonSun
Website: Baltimore Sun

“National Football League training camps are still a few weeks away from opening but a “Hail Mary” pass has to be thrown soon. These are desperate times for the NFL. Throughout this COVID-19 outbreak the league has continued with business as usual. Maybe that was because other pro leagues such as the NBA or Major League Baseball were going to start up again and the NFL wanted to maintain enthusiasm. Or maybe league officials were showing arrogance, but it’s time to see the game plan.”

#29 Clarence E. Hill, Jr. Beat Writer/Columnist

Twitter: @ClarenceHillJr
Website: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“There is no cure. There is no vaccine. There are plans and protocols to detect its presence but there is simply no fool-proof way to control the spread of an invisible killer.

The supposedly smart people in the NFL — who normally break down everything and are now full believers in analytics — are trudging into the unknown despite data that suggest otherwise seemingly just because.”

#30 Brian Allee-Walsh,Sports Columnist

Twitter: N/A
Website: SunHerald

“Until the past week, I truly believed the NFL would be able to play games in 2020, beginning with the start of training camps in late July.

I’m still leaning in that direction but feel less confident day by day.

I’m waffling because of comments made by Dr. Fauci after recent spikes in coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations around the country, including states where NFL teams call home, most notably, Texas, Florida, California, Arizona, Nevada and North Carolina.”

Closing Words

NFL experts know that Covid-19 is not going away soon. Yet, they also know how large the franchise is and how much revenue the NFL is going to lose should they suspend this year’s season. According to most experts, the best case scenario is that the NFL will continue with this year’s season – accounting all players will decide to play – but with less audience in the stadium.


[1] NFL reportedly intends to give all players the choice to sit out the entire 2020 season.

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