Commentary: Should The NFL Press The Pause Button?

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Should the NFL press the pause button due to the coronavirus (COVID-19)? (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It’s business as usual for the National Football League (NFL).

The NFL Draft will be held later this month followed by a full season of football (it seems), beginning in September.

Care to disagree with commissioner Roger Goodell‘s plan to hold the draft later this month, then expect some sort of “disciplinary action.”

I get it, we all miss sports and need something to distract us during this unusual time. And while I go back-and-forth on this topic – should the league shutdown or press the pause button? – I do welcome Goodell’s decision as a much-needed distraction.

Having the 2020 NFL Draft on your calendar provides everyone with something to look forward to during a time that has forced many of us to stay home and consume grim reports (and concerns) about the growing number of individuals that have contracted the coronavirus (COVID-19).

But while the NFL Draft is one thing, I don’t think it is right for the league to announce on the final day of March that the entire 2020 season will be played “in front of fans.” And the reason I say this is because nobody seems to know when life, as we knew it from a few weeks back, will resume and permit gatherings of more than 10 people.

I get providing a glimmer of hope and optimism, but doesn’t it seem a bit premature to be expecting life to resume to normal during a time when Saturdays feel like Mondays?

As someone that is an optimist and looks at the glass half full, not half empty, I think it is way too early to be making plans for the fall. Instead, the NFL (and any other league) should just continue to think optimistically (like I am doing at this time) and engage with fans on a weekly or bi-weekly basis with updates on scheduled dates, times, and events.

Sports (and everything else) will resume eventually, but not this evening or tomorrow. And while I do welcome any sort of hope (and optimism) about not living in a world that feels like an eerie science fiction novel, I think it would be best for all leagues, along with any upcoming events and public gatherings to step on the breaks instead of implying that life will be normal at the end of the summer or early fall.

Tom Brady Will Not Return To New England

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Where will Tom Brady play in 2020? PHOTO COURTESY: Charles Krupa / Associated Press/LA Times

By Matt Noonan 

Tom Brady plans to play football later this year. But it won’t be with the New England Patriots.

The six-time Super Bowl champion finally broke his silence about his plans for the upcoming season this morning on Twitter, announcing his “football journey will take place elsewhere.”

Exactly where Brady will play remains a mystery – Indianapolis? Los Angeles? Tampa Bay? – but we should learn of his plans either later today or tomorrow once free agency truly begins at 4 p.m. eastern.

Excluding his announcement of taking his talents elsewhere, Brady did acknowledge in a pair of tweets how grateful he was to compete for the Patriots for the past 20 years. “I want to say thank you for the past twenty years of my life,” he tweeted, “and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values.”

A six-round pick in the 2000 National Football League (NFL) Draft, Brady helped the Patriots win not just one, but six Super Bowls, including three in four seasons (2001, 2003, and 2004). The veteran signal-caller cemented his name alongside Boston sports greats – Bill RussellBobby OrrLarry BirdTed Williams, and others, of course – for his impressive play on the gridiron.

Commentary: Are You Ready For Life Without Sports?

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Are you ready for life without sports? (PHOTO COURTESY: CubesAndPiii on Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation

Get ready for a few weeks and months without sports – it is going to happen.

Due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), both this week and over the past few weeks, sports are going to take a backseat. And I am fine with that decision.

The health and well-being of our athletes, coaches, team representatives, and of course, the fans, is what matters most during this time.

I know many fans are upset – what will I do without sports? – while others believe the games (and practices) must go on. But I believe the only way we can return to the field and bleachers is by adhering to the advice of our doctors, health officials, and scientists, not angry parents or fans.

The decision to halt professional, college and high school sports was certainly not an easy one, but again, this decision, a domino effect on Thursday after the NBA suspended its season late Wednesday evening, was the right thing to do. And again, I know many, including college and high school seniors, were extremely distraught to hear their dreams of competing for a March Madness title or state championship would not occur, so I sympathize with these men and women, including the high school seniors that may not get a chance to compete this spring on the baseball or softball diamond or even the school’s outdoor track.

So, with really no local games or college basketball to watch today, tomorrow, and Sunday, I guess it is time to embark into a world that won’t include sports, but instead concerns over the well-being of our family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

Will we read more books?

Will we binge-watch, both old and new shows?

Will we get outside and soak in the sun (when its nice, of course)?

Or will we just hunker down and wait for the apocalypse of the coronavirus to vanish?

No matter what happens, life will be different – I guarantee it – but as I mentioned earlier today in my ‘Daily Noontime,’ we will persevere and come back stronger. And that is because I am an optimist.

While I know many of you may find life quite boring and odd these next few weeks and months without sports, just remember that our favorite teams and athletes will eventually reemerge. But until that time comes, we just need to smile, laugh, and find something else to do to keep us preoccupied while we anxiously await the return of professional, college, and high school sports.

COVID-19 Cancels March Madness, NCAA Winter & Spring Championships

By Matt Noonan 

Due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the NCAA has decided to cancel both its winter and spring championships for all three divisions, including March Madness, which was supposed to occur next week without fans in the stands.

The announcement of the cancelations was made this afternoon through a statement, which was seen both on the NCAA website and social media. The statement from the NCAA was the following:

Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships. This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.

Shortly after the cancelations were announced, D3Hoops.com confirmed both D-III tournaments were canceled, including contests that were scheduled to take place this weekend at Amherst CollegeBowdoin College, and Tufts University.

As noted in the report on D3Hoops.com this afternoon, the Tufts men’s basketball team learned of the news on a bus ride to Brockport, New York. The Jumbos were scheduled to tip-off on Saturday, March 14th against the College of Brockport in the third round of the NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Prior to the NCAA announcement, multiple professional leagues began suspending its current season, including Major League Soccer (MLS), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL). Additionally, both Major League Baseball (MLB) and Minor League Baseball (MLB) announced they would be delaying the start of their respective seasons for two weeks.

Finally, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) announced they were canceling both its basketball and hockey championships this weekend.

Commentary: Re-Thinking Where Tom Brady Plays In 2020

By Matt Noonan

A few weeks ago, I shared five landing spots for Tom Brady, who is inching closer to inking his name on a new contract with either the New England Patriots or another team for the upcoming 2020 season.

As of today, we’re a bit closer since my last ‘commentary’ blog post – in fact, the NFL free agency period will truly begin two weeks from today (March 18th, 2020), so we should know where the six-time Super Bowl champion will be playing shortly.

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Where will Tom Brady play in 2020? We should know the answer to that question in two weeks. (PHOTO COURTESY: ADAM GLANZMAN/GETTY)

But in the meantime, I thought I would re-think (and revisit) my thoughts from a few weeks ago and share where I think Brady will play next fall.

New England Patriots. I find it hard to believe that Tom Brady would want to leave New England for another team. Seriously, I don’t think he wants to play for another team.  Brady would probably have to ask for less money so the Patriots could spend some money on new pieces for their offense.

If Brady doesn’t return, which is certainly possible, then it truly is because of coach Bill Belichick and his eagerness to lead the Patriots to a championship without the greatest signal-caller that is not named Joe Montana.

San Francisco 49ers. I floated this idea a few weeks ago – I won’t take credit for the thought – but seeing Brady suit up for his hometown 49ers would truly be a fairytale ending to his historic career.

If the 49ers were to acquire the six-time Super Bowl champion, then they would most likely send Jimmy Garoppolo packing. And most likely, Jimmy G would return to New England to lead his former team, which provided him with two Super Bowl rings.

I really like the thought of Tom Brady playing for the 49ers because he would make them an immediate lock for next year’s Super Bowl.

Tennessee Titans. Until the rumors of the 49ers started floating or the thought of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo switching places started, I thought Tennessee was a lock. But I am not so sure about Brady playing for the Titans next season.

If Tom Brady does play for the Titans then the next question is will Derrick Henry be on the field with him? Per reports, it sounds like the Titans will use the franchise tag on Henry, but another report confirms that Brady would not want to play for Tennessee without the former Alabama halfback.

Tennesse seems like an ideal fit, of course, so don’t rule this team out as we inch closer to the first day of free agency. Plus, you know Tom Brady would love to play for his former teammate, Mike Vrabel.

Other potential landing spots (in my opinion) could also include the Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

I don’t think we will see Brady sporting a Dallas Cowboys uniform or playing for the Los Angeles Chargers. And I will end this post by saying I don’t think he will play for the Las Vegas Raiders, but I could be wrong.