The NFL has long been known as the No Fun League, but that was pertaining to the league's stance on players celebrating big plays. As they loosened their grip on celebrations, amidst the coronavirus pandemic the league is starting to target other common behaviors regularly done on football Sundays to help keep players and personnel safe.
The NFL and NFLPA continue to hash out the details of their game day procedures and protocols, but Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports one of the common activities which will get the ax is the post game jersey swap.
You know, when two players on separate teams meet at midfield after the game and give each other their jersey, often writing a message on it for the receiving player. According to Pelissero, the close contact players would have in this scenario is one of many facets of the game which will change due to the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Players were left scratching their heads at this reported news, but no one encompassed players' emotions more than 49ers tight end George Kittle.
Pelissero suggested the league didn't stop there, as it pertains to changes to the game to help minimize risk. While coaches and players will not have to wear masks on the sidelines, anyone who doesn't fall under that proverbial umbrella will be masked at all times. Players will also have their temperature checked on game days, and sidelines will possibly be extended to help create space between teammates.
With the rule of social distancing, players won't be able to get photos together after the game, or even talk for that matter. In other words, as the clock turns to zeroes, both teams might just head into their locker rooms. It will certainly look different, but if it keeps players healthy, and the games going, I would believe most fans would be on board.
Pelissero made it a point to say these procedures and protocols are not finalized yet. They still need to be negotiated between the players and the league, and these could also adapt as we learn more about the virus and how it can impact an individual. If it passes, these will go into effect during the 2020 preseason, if that even exists this year.
The game will certainly look different this season. The Steelers sent out an email saying if there would be fans in the stands, the stadium wouldn't be at capacity and everyone would have to wear a mask. With training camps slated to start at the end of the month, the league will be making final decisions sooner rather than later, and we will have all those updates right here at DKPittsburghSports.com.