Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney is very confident that the 2020 season will start on time in the fall, despite the uncertainties in all major sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and invoked great moments in United States history to back up his stance:
Granted, the playing of football doesn't compare to the importance of the other events cited. And other prominent figures in the sport have expressed their doubts.
"In my opinion, until we have a vaccine, where we've really got some control over this, even if this curve is flattened out, this virus is still out there. I'll be shocked, I haven't talked with anybody but I'll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football," ESPN's college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said last week (h/t Michael Wayne Bratton of Saturday Down South). "I'll be so surprised if that happens."
Herbstreit's comments were met with backlash. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, for instance, dismissed those remarks.
"If anybody can really predict what can happen next week, they should be in the stock market. I heard Kirk Herbstreit come out last week and say, 'No way.' Kirk does not know what he's talking about," he said, per Bratton. "Really? For him, you know, talk in those terms, he's not a scientist. He's a college football analyst. We'll let the scientists determine those things."
But the NFL's chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, has also expressed doubts about the NFL season starting in September.
"As long as we're still in a place where when a single individual tests positive for the virus that you have to quarantine every single person who was in contact with them in any shape, form or fashion, then I don't think you can begin to think about reopening a team sport," he told Judy Battista of NFL.com. "Because we're going to have positive cases for a very long time."
Sills noted that there are a whole slew of issues to consider, from when fans will be allowed to gather en masse again to the amount of time teams will need to prepare before the season begins.
"There's no way to recreate a four-month offseason program in the span of week or two," he noted. "When you think about resuming something like football, everyone understands there needs to be some time to acclimatize to activity and train back to the level of physical fitness just to be able to think about more football specific work."
And until a vaccine is developed and distributed, there is the chance for a second outbreak of COVID-19 if social distancing measures are disregarded. According to