• Wed. Apr 21st, 2021

The Closer [Column]

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on the sports world beginning with shutting down the entire industry for months back in early-March. The effects of the disease are still having major implications on many aspects of the game from having no audience to rosters to preparations. 

One of the most physically demanding sports in the world, the NFL lost out on the time spent to get its players up to speed for real-game play. Normal off-season activities include minicamp, preseason games and practices over the course of a couple of months. Due to COVID-19, these training activities were either postponed or canceled. 

There were numerous major injuries that happened to the game’s biggest stars. Some of the biggest names in the league that suffered serious injuries include Nick Bosa (torn ACL), Saquan Barkley (torn ACL), Christian McCaffrey (Ankle), Drew Lock (Shoulder) and Courtland Sutton (torn ACL) just to name a few. These ACL tears are the worst. For some, this is a career altering injury that requires nearly a year off the ligament. Like most serious injuries, the athlete then has to face the mental barrier of trusting the ligament again. Some players don’t feel 100% for well over a year. As a long time fan of the NFL, these injuries hurt so much. These fan bases will not be the same until they get back out there.

The issue remains; was this because of the lack of practicing and training or were these injuries simply coincidental and bad timing? There are sides to each, and professional football being such a physically demanding sport, has many major injuries. All of these injuries happened in the second week of the NFL 2020 season. Injuries are clearly a part of the game and for the most part can’t be avoided. The timing of these injuries does look very suspicious, but there isn’t much evidence to suggest a direct relationship from everyone losing practice and training time to the serious injuries that occured in week two. 

There are key injuries every year in the NFL. It just hurts the game that most of them occurred during the same week. It just happens to a by-product of poor timing and bad luck. 

During this unique season of the NFL, the league decided to cancel the four preseason games. These games in the past couple of years have been questioned for the need for all of them. Some believed that the league should reduce the amount of games to two. Some have argued in favor of getting rid of all four. Without these four preseason games, players have had their workload of games reduced by 20%. Instead of playing a combined 20 games; including preseason and regular season, they are asked to play just 16 (not including playoffs). It is safe to say that teams and players did not miss the four preseason games. 

These injuries hurt the game in many ways. The fans lose out on watching their favorite players which causes the ratings to get lower. More importantly, these ailments are long lasting. There is a chance that some of these players will not be the same after very serious surgery. Hopefully, these great players have a speedy recovery, and can get back out on the field as soon as possible. 

By Nicholas Mundy
namundy@vwu.edu