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POLL: Public divided on delayed start to NFL season

Matt Johnson
NFL, field
Nov 24, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; General overall view of the NFL shield logo at midfield at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Raiders 34-3. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought sports to a standstill for over a month with everyone waiting for the day when sports will return. However, a recent poll conducted by Seton Hall University shows a split among the public for the NFL to return on time.

In a recent poll, 46% of Americans said the NFL season should not start on time due to the ongoing pandemic. Of the 762 respondents who took part in the poll, 77% believe the season should be pushed back if players don’t have enough time to prepare during the summer.

The reaction from Americans comes at a time when the NFL continues to weigh how to proceed during an ongoing global crisis. As the number of confirmed cases for the coronavirus surpasses 550,000 in the United States, per Johns Hopkins University, there is growing skepticism that the 2020 season will start on schedule in September.

While President Donald Trump told NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that he’d like to see the season start on time, multiple governors have cast doubt for that happening. Furthermore, 60% of Americans polled said Trump’s call to league commissioners was inappropriate.

Government officials and Americans aren’t alone in their skepticism for the NFL returning on schedule. An NFL player recently expressed concern for their health if the season starts in September. Multiple team executives and head coaches have also privately indicated they expect the 2020 season to be delayed.

The NFL announced that it would need widespread COVID-19 testing before a potential season could start. Given the shortage of testing kits in the United States, organized team activities in June are likely to be canceled and training camp could be at risk.

If crucial practices during the summer are postponed, the league might be forced to delay the regular season so players have enough time to prepare for a grueling schedule.

While the NFL’s desire to provide Americans with a sense of normalcy is understandable, the COVID-19 pandemic might make that impossible.