ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit Will Be 'Shocked' If NFL, College Football Play Season

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2020

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23:  GameDay host Kirk Herbstreit is seen during ESPN's College GameDay show at Times Square on September 23, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said Thursday he'd be "shocked" if the 2020 NFL or college football seasons take place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Herbstreit discussed the potential of all football being canceled this year during an appearance on ESPN Radio (via TMZ Sports).

"I'll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I'll be so surprised if that happens," he said. "Just because, from what I understand, people that I listen to, you're 12 to 18 months from a [COVID-19] vaccine. I don't know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don't know how you can do it with the optics of it."

Herbstreit said if he was in charge of either the NFL or the NCAA, he'd already be set to announce the football season was being canceled, per TMZ.

"Next thing you know you got a locker room full of guys that are sick. And that's on your watch? I wouldn't want to have that," he said. "As much as I hate to say it, I think we're scratching the surface of where this thing's gonna go."

He added the limited preparation time would also be a factor, even if the coronavirus outlook started to improve by late summer: "You don't all of the sudden come up with something in July or August and say, 'OK we're good to go' and turn 'em loose!"

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Most NCAA spring practices have been canceled or postponed, while the NFL has indefinitely delayed offseason team activities because of the coronavirus.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney released a video statement Wednesday and said he was "very hopeful" the college campaign would take place this fall, but he added sports are on the back burner for now:

"Football will take care of itself. Our team's in a good place. We all are missing sports in general and all those things. And hopefully when we do get our lives back on track, hopefully we'll have even more of an appreciation for the privilege we have of living in this country and all the information and knowledge and the great and wonderful doctors and nurses we have out there. It's amazing what's going on right now in our country and all these great people that are serving so many."

Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ordered for all team facilities to be closed as of Wednesday, but the league's offseason has proceeded on its normal schedule. Free agency started March 18, and the draft is still on track to take place April 23-25 without fans or prospects in attendance.

No timetable has been provided by either the NFL or the NCAA about when a final decision will be made about their respective 2020 seasons.