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Some people that are a lot smarter than me believe that it is nearly mathematically impossible that we are NOT actually living in a computer simulation. While, sure, it’d take computing power than seems impossible (as it’d take a system with more atoms than there are in the entire universe), we also don’t know if the entire universe exists when not directly observed (I’d explain what I mean, but I want to increase the average time people spend on our sites). 

I bring this up, because if there were two currently employed head coaches that Vikings fans have nightmares about, it’s Saints head coach Sean Payton and Ealges head coach Doug Pederson. 

Sean Payton contracted COVID earlier this summer, and now it has been reported that Pederson has also tested positive. Pederson is reportedly asymptomatic, and will try to run the team virtually. 

Press Taylor, the QB coach/passing game coordinator was also placed into quarantine as he was spending a lot of time with Pederson. The team released a statement, saying:

Any individuals in close contact with Pederson at our facility have been notified and will continue with daily testing procedures and compliance with all protocols before returning to the facility.”

The thing is, though, that Pederson was far enough along to both test positive and for them to know he was asymptomatic. While the science isn’t certain, a person can be contagious 72 hours before showing symptoms, and since pre-and-asymptomatic people can spread COVID (and also that you having symptoms makes testing more accurate). 

According to CBC News:

“… you can only really count on a positive test if you have symptoms, according Dr. Matthew Cheng, a microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at the McGill University Health Centre.

If you have symptoms, there is a 70 per cent the disease will be detected with a positive result, said Cheng, who recently wrote a scientific article summarizing research so far on COVID-19 testing. On average, symptoms develop five to six days after exposure, but it can take two to 14 days.” 

I am sure you know what I am getting at. I’ve been increasingly advocating for a change of venue for the NFL as, I love football but I also love people not dying or being maimed. Sure, the NFL has a lot of young men in peak physical condition so there are a lot of people saying “Let them play!”, but my point is and has been that with the pandemic worse now than it was when most other pro sports leagues suspended their seasons, how is something terrible not going to happen in the NFL (or those other leagues).

If testing isn’t 100% and are contagious before they can test positive (especially asymptomatic people), then how is a league with 80 players per 32 teams, with hundreds of coaches/coordinators that which all have families, going to avoid having a situation like the Miami Marlins? 

Florida, Texas and California, the three states with the most new COVID cases, have a combined 25 percent of the leagues teams. Again, how won’t things get bad? 

Moving to Europe is clearly not going to happen, unless the league has some sort of contingency plan set up that we don’t know about. But, this is the NFL and since they didn’t have a plan for the new season up until recently (just look at JJ Watt’s frustration and “We want to play but where is the plan from the NFL?” Tweet from a couple weeks ago), I doubt they have some secret plans even if those plans would make them lose less money in 2020 (as they’d be able to sell more tickets in Europe than they can here). 

With 10% of the Vikings roster already being placed on the newly created COVID IR (which the existence of should be enough for people to say “do we really need football right now?”), as either people with COVID or people who have been in close contact with people with COVID, as well, it just feels like its only a matter of time until we …

Actually, you know who summed this up very well? “Future Viking” (I’m joking) Odell Beckham Jr., who recently said he doesn’t think that the football season should happen at all.

OBJ said i

That’s how I feel. Obviously with everything that’s going on, it doesn’t make sense why we’re trying to do this. I can understand basketball was already in the playoffs. Five-on-five basketball in an arena is going to be more intense than regular-season games. Hooping is different than playing an eleven-on-eleven contact sport where there’s 80 people in a locker room.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

He continues:

We’re not ready for football season. So why are we trying to push forward? It’s obviously for their money. And that bothers me because there’s always been this—and I hate saying it like that—but the owners’ [attitude is], Oh we own you guys, and just kind of that unfairness going on that they don’t see us as human. I just feel like the season shouldn’t happen and I’m prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn’t mind not having it,” Beckham told The Wall Street Journal.

Now, as I’ve said in every article about this topic there is nothing more in this world (outside of the obvious) than a football season. As a fan more then even a person who earns his living covering the NFL. 

There is power in the calm that having an institution like the NFL active during these crazy times. However, it isn’t a vital industry and especially considering the new NFL CBA and the projected salary cap issues that’ll stem from it, it feels like the league will be punishing players financially (and ending some of their careers) for years because they don’t want to make less money this year despite making billions each season and having an investment like owning a team that has exploded in value.

The Wilf family purchased the Vikings for $600 million about 15 years ago. The most recent assessment of the value of the Vikings pegged them at $2.7 billion. You’re telling me that these owners can’t eat a budget shortfall for one season?

This is why I thought a move to Europe would benefit everyone. It would basically eliminate players feeling like they’re literally expendable, and before you say “they can opt out!” there is a difference in the new CBA between opting out generally and opting out because you have one of the approved (and doctor verified) conditions like new Vikings nose tackle Michael Pierce has.

There are also players who can’t opt out even with those conditions because their roster spot isn’t guaranteed. So, you have a situation like that of Eagles receiver Marquise Goodwin, who missed pivotal and tragic family moments in the past because he wanted to prove to his coaches he was a winner and loyal.

Gross.

That loyalty more and more feels one-sided, as OBJ eloquently points out. So, beyond the very high probability that an NFL player and/or their family will suffer a tragedy because they played football this season, there is also a high probability that the players will revolt this season against an ownership group that has treated them, as compared to other pro sports leagues, badly even before this. 

In a time, socially, where we are looking at how those in power treat and have treated women, Blacks and others, doesn’t this all feel kinda tone deaf? 

Again, I am not advocating for the NFL to cancel the 2020 season. I am actually afraid that because of the less than 100% accuracy in the testing process, and the current state of COVID, that not only will the season end up getting cancelled anyway but that that’ll happen after a tragedy and/or player revolt. 

I am sure people will write off what OBJ said because of who he is. That people, like those that attacked Goodwin for opting out, will say that the vast majority of people (especially young people without co-occurring health issues) have a mild case that goes away in its own. 

However, 20% of people who contract the virus end up hospitalized, and we are still learning about the myriad of ways that those that survive COVID are impacted in the short and long term. Lung scarring, brain damage, heart inflammation, blood clots, amputated limbs etc. are all things that caused by COVID and obviously can linger for life. 

Just like the flu!

I don’t know why I am writing this as I am not delusional enough to think that someone will run into Roger Goodell’s office with a print out of my COVID series like “Stop the Presses! This basement dwelling semi-employed/employable jack ass from Minn-en-apolis has saved the 2020 season!”, but I also think that it is my job to cover the NFL and this seems like the beginning of what could end up being  one of the largest stories/events in NFL history. 

Stay tuned?