J.J. Watt 'Optimistic' About NFL Starting on Time: I Believe Week 1 Will Happen

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2020

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt speaks during a news conference following an NFL divisional playoff football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans, in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. The Kansas City Chiefs won 51-31. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Ed Zurga/Associated Press

A month out from the beginning of the 2020 NFL season, Houston Texans star J.J. Watt thinks the league will successfully be able to get to Week 1.  

"I believe Week 1 will happen," Watt told Peter King of NBC Sports. "I'm optimistic."

In an effort to limit player exposure to COVID-19, the NFL canceled the entire preseason. Players are instead going through an extended training camp that will lead them up to Week 1, which is set to kick off Sept. 10.

Getting to Week 1 will likely be the smallest of obstacles facing the NFL season. Players will, for the most part, be in a pseudo bubble at or near their facilities for the next month. While they are technically free to resume their normal lives once they're off the clock, players who engage in "high-risk activities" can be suspended for up to four games and potentially lose their salaries.

The risk will increase significantly once the season starts and players begin traveling to games and staying in hotels, forcing more communication with the general public. Major League Baseball's season has been rife with issues since its opening weekend, which saw an outbreak among Miami Marlins players. The St. Louis Cardinals have not played since July 29 due to a COVID-19 outbreak, leading to the postponement of at least 15 games.

MLB, like the NFL, chose not to create a so-called bubble for its players. The NBA, NHL, WNBA and MLS have shown that a bubble environment is perhaps the most effective in limiting player exposure to the virus. None of those leagues have had a positive test in several weeks.

Because of the high-contact nature of football, the sport is perhaps at the greatest risk of a massive spread. All it potentially takes is one person not taking the virus seriously enough, and an entire team's outlook could be altered by an outbreak.