Why Covid is killing the NFL

Published On October 18, 2020 | By Alice Cook

Imagine an Olympic athlete getting out of the pool, off the ice, off the track or permanently down the mountain with the Games just several months away.

These elite athletes all having something in common. They have practiced at least 10 thousand hours before they became one of the best in the world in their sport. Practice undoubtedly makes perfect.

The same can be said for professional football players.

Covid has knocked teams off practice fields and out of training facilities. The result has been teams showing up on game day knowing they are unprepared and fighting an uphill battle.

Like most people, I fully agree that every precaution has to be taken to stop the spread.

I don’t mind empty stadiums, fake crowd noise and the absence overall of football ambiance when watching a game.

What I do mind is watching an inferior product like the one that took place in Foxboro in Week 6.

While the Denver Broncos had to sit around for 2 weeks waiting to play the Patriots – at least they had an opportunity to practice – and practice – and practice. The opposite was true for the Patriots.

And it showed.

Coming into the game Denver had one win this season – and it was against the winless Jets. So it shouldn’t even count.

What has made the Patriots the most successful NFL franchise over the last two decades comes down to three things.

Talent, Coaching and Preparation.

Love him, or hate him, Bill Belichick has been the king of game planning, practicing, and execution.

Belichick has been forced – or has elected – to close the Patriots’ practice facility a number of times over the last 2 weeks due to multiple positive Covid tests. That means not only that practice was cancelled, but so was strength training, physical therapy, meetings and every other aspect of preparation that happens at Gillette Stadium throughout the season.

Lack of practice is lack of preparation and lack of preparation is a killer for any athlete and any team in any sport.

The NFL wants its regular season games to be played, even if it pushes the season into March of next year. Above all, they want the highest rated television event in the world to be played in Tampa Bay – at some point.

Just one request to the NFL – If the teams are going to play a 16 game schedule before that big event, make it fair and don’t make teams play without the opportunity to practice. Regardless of which team got Covid and which team didn’t.

Discussing a game plan on Zoom will never replace executing that plan on the practice field.

Practice makes perfect, and right now things are anything but perfect in the NFL.

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About The Author

is a veteran television sports reporter and Olympian. Her experience includes 25 years of sports reporting for WBZ-TV, the CBS and former NBC affiliate in Boston. Cook has worked for ESPN, Turner Sports, and WTBS. Cook is a feature writer for She's Game Sports and Boston.com. She is also President and Founder of She's Game Sports LLC.