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 no quarterback. Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski was pressured to overlook his staff’s playoff street win towards the Steelers as a result of he had examined optimistic 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 known as “a unprecedented collective effort.”
“There’s so many individuals that needed to work collectively to get this carried out,” Goodell advised reporters in his annual Tremendous Bowl information convention. “There have been doubters. Clearly, there have been folks that did not imagine we might do it. Clearly, we had loads of unknowns ourselves.
“However we believed that staying on schedule and dealing in the direction of attempting to get to 256 video games carried out — as we type of say shorthand, keep away from the asterisk. I believe we have been ready to do this, however we have nonetheless acquired a number of days left right here, so we’re targeted 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 might get a deal with on coping with the virus.
“It began in Tennessee the place we weren’t positive the best way to management this, what was the reason for this,” Goodell mentioned. “These have been some anxious days, there is not any query about it.
“However we believed in our medical consultants. We believed within the protocols. We have been capable of get that below management, and we realized lots from that, that we then utilized and altered, and I believe that helped us.
“After which once we had, for example the Baltimore case, we have been capable of establish that faster, however we have been capable of establish the place the supply was higher. Each stage we realized from that in having the ability to establish this and isolate.
“Our complete idea right here was to not keep away from positives. We knew that that was not potential once you’re coping with 7,500 folks simply in our system primarily, who have been being examined virtually on daily basis. That was not going to occur. However the thought is to check ceaselessly, establish when you’ve got a optimistic and isolate.”
Goodell mentioned 1.2 million followers attended NFL video games this season. There might be round 25,000 followers in attendance for Tremendous Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Sunday, and attendees might be offered PPE kits from the league.
“We would like our followers to be protected,” Goodell mentioned. “They must be sensible. They should put on their PPE.”
The NFL is 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 12 months.
It hasn’t been determined if worldwide video games might be on the schedule in 2021, and it is also not but recognized what fan attendance will appear like subsequent season and what sorts of Covid-19 protocols might be wanted for gamers.
“I want I knew the reply to that,” Goodell mentioned. “One of many issues that I believe I’ve realized and I believe all of us have realized is strive to not mission too far prematurely as a result of it is troublesome to do. … I do know this: We have realized to function in a really troublesome setting. We’ve discovered options, and we’ll do it once more.”