The NFL and COVID-19

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The Catalyst / Photo courtesy of Maddie Perry

Junior Maddie Perry poses with family and friends at one of last season's 49ers games.

Paige Clarke, Sports Editor

Amidst a global pandemic, the NFL needed to look into their upcoming 2020 season. On May 7, the NFL released its 2020 schedule. Football’s regular season will begin September 10 and end January 17, and Superbowl LV is currently scheduled for February 7, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Specific dates and times for games are yet to be released. 

The NFL also plans on being flexible to prepare for any challenges they may face with social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions. It is still up in the air if crowds will be able to watch the games live or if teams in certain states like California will be able to even play.

One significant change for Bay Area sports is that the Raiders, who have been playing in Oakland for the past 25 seasons, will be playing in Las Vegas, Nevada right off the strip. The Raiders, an AFC West team, are scheduled to play the Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers, Bills, Dolphins, Saints, Buccaneers, and Colts at home and the Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers, Patriots, Jets, Falcons, Panthers, and Browns away.

The 49ers, the reigning NFC champions, will still be playing in Santa Clara this season, and are scheduled to play the Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, Redskins, Eagles, Bills, Dolphins, and Packers at home and the Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, Cowboys, Giants, Jets, Patriots, and Saints away. 

No matter what happens with the season, local 49er fans will continue to be dedicated to their team, whether they can be there or not.

“I, of course, hope the season is not altered by COVID but if fans still are not allowed I would love to see the Niners play without fans present. I love the Niners so I’d rather there be games without fans present than no games at all,” junior Maddie Perry said.  She attends games frequently throughout the season.

Professional sports help bring us together like nothing else – not necessarily in a literal sense – just as a cultural tentpole through which many of us relate to each other,” Social Sciences teacher Jonathan Tomczak said.

Then, I hope that we reach a point where the NFL can safely allow the season to proceed in the fall, even if that means fans watch from home. Normalcy may be a relative term at the moment, but this would go a long way toward providing the sort of escape that people probably need now more than ever. Also, I hope the Niners win the Super Bowl. Obviously,” he added.

“If the 49ers play football at Levi’s Stadium on whatever day they open, I will go and I think some people won’t go, but I will go. I will go,” NDB father and grandfather Patrick Clarke said. He has been a 49ers season ticket holder since the 1980s and looks forward to football season every year.

No matter the season’s outcome, the health and safety of players and fans should be a top priority and any measures installed are worthwhile to the sport.

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