“I can solely actually, in some methods, applaud them within the problem that they clearly have taken on,” mentioned Patrick Nally, a British sports-marketing govt with deep expertise within the Olympics, soccer and an array of different main sports activities. “On the similar time, I hope that they see the have to be as accountable as they should be, and current it in a way that actually displays the tragedy that we’re all going through.”
The sport represents an odd likelihood for an American makeover — a brand new yr, a brand new administration, a brand new outlook. Will probably be a 2021 America packaged and broadcast to the world. Whereas the N.F.L. has an opportunity to look actually good, or actually dangerous, in methods by no means imagined earlier than, People could also be judged proper together with the league.
“In some ways, they’re torch-carrying for america as a nation,” Nally mentioned. “If ever there was a possibility to current, to remark, in the best, accountable method, that is the possibility of doing it.”
In Mourning, or In Vegas?
Different sports activities leagues have had an opportunity to deal with the toll of the pandemic in current months, although not with an viewers this huge or a single sport this orchestrated.
The problem will confront the postponed Summer time Olympics in Tokyo, which have been rescheduled for this July and August. Subsequent yr’s Winter Olympics in Beijing will likely be carefully watched, to see how the Chinese language spin their position within the pandemic.
The query of navigating one thing as frivolous-seeming as sports activities amid an ongoing disaster just isn’t new, although there aren’t any true historic parallels. Wartime may be the closest factor.
Throughout World Conflict II, the Olympics have been referred to as off, however the N.F.L. and Main League Baseball performed seasons and championships regardless of some gamers’ being pulled into obligation. The N.F.L. completed its common season on Dec. 7, 1941, the day of the Pearl Harbor bombing, and held playoff games a week later, as scheduled.