Roger Goodell Says NFL Is Planning to Play Games in 2020: 'That's Our Hope'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 10, 2020

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 29: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media during a press conference prior to Super Bowl LIV at the Hilton Miami Downtown on January 29, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The San Francisco 49ers will face the Kansas City Chiefs in the 54th playing of the Super Bowl, Sunday February 2nd. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

There is uncertainty about when various sports leagues in the United States will resume playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic or whether leagues set to begin later in the year will be able to do so on time. But for now, the NFL is planning to hold a 2020 season.

"The NFL is planning to play," league commissioner Roger Goodell told Kairos founder and CEO Ankur Jain. "That's our hope, and that's our planning to date."

He added: "We have to put public safety first. The general public safety, but also the safety of all our workers. The hope here is that the steps that our leaders are taking are going to help end this pandemic as soon as possible."

Goodell also said he believes the NFL can help bring people joy during a difficult period. 

"We can help our country heal. We can help bring our communities together," he said. "We can provide hope. We can provide a distraction from the everyday issues and show people that there is a future out there and that we're all going to be part of that."

The sporting world has seen an unprecedented number of cancellations and postponements in the past month, with sports like the NBA, NHL, MLB and various European soccer leagues on hiatus. The NCAA canceled its winter and spring sports, including the men's and women's basketball tournaments, while UEFA's Euros and the Tokyo Olympics have each been postponed a year. 

The fear in loosening or ending social distancing guidelines prematurely is the possibility of a second wave of the pandemic hitting the country. Leagues like the NBA might be facing a reality where they can only resume play without fans in attendance. Leagues like the NFL might have to consider postponing the start of the season to ensure they have enough time to hold training camps and preseason preparations. 

Much of that timeline is to be determined, but the NFL has been forced to get creative with other offseason events, which will include an all-digital NFL draft in two weeks. 

There have been 465,750 confirmed coronavirus in the United States to this point, per CNN.com, with 16,684 deaths. Worldwide, those numbers are 1.6 million confirmed cases and 95,718 deaths.

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