So we have finally made it to the Super Bowl – please breath a sigh of relief, Roger Goodell.
Of course, we need to play the game, which we will tomorrow evening, but like I have over the past few weeks, allow me to share my “two-cents” on the 2020 National Football League (NFL) postseason with a Super Bowl prediction!
Enjoy the game, everyone – tomorrow’s match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be a great contest.
Get ready for Super Bowl Sunday with some insight – and yes, some thoughts and predictions, too – by listening to the Football Friday Podcast with myself, as well as Andrew Pezzelli and Zach Weiss.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This is the match-up the NFL wanted – if it had been Kansas City and the Green Bay Packers that would have worked, too – but Tom Brady versus Patrick Mahomes seems like the ideal way to cap a pandemic season.
Sunday’s meeting will mark the fifth time Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes have tangled on the gridiron since 2018 – Brady won the first two meetings while Mahomes has captured the last two, including one when the current Buccaneers quarterback was under center for the New England Patriots.
Tampa Bay enters the contest with a great deal of momentum. They have scored three-straight postseason wins, but really found their grove at the end of the regular season with a pair of victories against the Atlanta Falcons, along with a statement win against the Detroit Lions.
The Bucs will be the first team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium, and will be the initial team to secure a victory in the ‘big game’ on their own turf.
It will be a bit closer than many may anticipate, but in the end, Tom Brady will lead the Buccaneers on a game-winning touchdown drive to secure his seventh Super Bowl championship. PREDICTION: Tampa Bay 31, Kansas City 27
Heinsohn is also being remembered for his passionate and insightful color commentary – fans will certainly miss his insight this upcoming season as a broadcaster. The New Jersey native, who guided the Celtics to 10 National Basketball Association (NBA) championships and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player (1986) and coach (2015), is someone his former colleague Mike Gorman believes will never be replaced.
Prior to coaching and playing for the Celtics, Heinsohn competed locally at at Holy Cross where he led the Crusaders to the 1954 National Invitation Tournament(NIT) championship. He earned a pair of first-team All-American honors with the Purple and White, and was inducted into the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1962.
Numerous Celtics players, both current and past, shared memories of Tommy Heinsohn on Twitter, including Marcus Smart and Cedric Maxwell.
Switching gears to football, the National Football League (NFL) could welcome two more teams to the postseason this winter, pending upcoming contests get canceled due to the coronavirus.
Speaking with owners during a Tuesday video conference, Roger Goodell, who is the league’s commissioner, said the NFL is “committed” to completing the league’s current schedule. The NFL was not impacted by the virus until the third week of the season concluded.
As of now, seven teams from each conference will compete in the upcoming NFL postseason, which is scheduled to kick-off next January, with the top seed securing a first-round bye.
Here are a few more stories to read either later this morning or afternoon:
The headline of this blog post says it all: The National Football League (NFL) has a Covid-19 problem. And the league must do something about it sooner than later.
Whether you agree or disagree, playing football during a pandemic comes with risks, and unfortunately, the NFL, which may have been blinded by this feeling from the get-go seems to believe they can operate at full-blast. But clearly, we – the fans of this league – are slowly realizing the NFL was never equipped nor ready to combat its biggest opponent of the 2020 season: Covid-19.
For three weeks, the NFL seemed invisible. 48 games were played with no positive tests. But as we began to turn the page to the fourth week, things went in a different direction.
Two teams – the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans – became the league’s epicenter for the virus while other squads have recently announced at least one – maybe two? – positive test results over the past few days. And due to an uptick in positive cases, the Patriots’ matchup on Monday with the Denver Broncos has been postponed (again!) to next Sunday, October 18.
As of this morning, nothing has been said nor reported about Tuesday’s matchup between the Titans and Buffalo Bills, but I think if the league is going to move the Patriots-Broncos game to next weekend then they better reschedule this particular matchup, too.
Sure, postponing or canceling games will throw a wrench into the current schedule, but if the NFL wants to continue its 101st season then they better consider some alternative plans that should begin with an emphasis on finding ways to keep its entire organization safe and healthy.
The NFL in my opinion is more interested in playing games and keeping their partners and sponsors happy, but instead, they’re creating a chaotic environment with so much uncertainty and certainly a not of clarity.
If I were Roger Goodell, who is the commissioner of the league, I would do the following to save the 2020 season:
First, press the pause button on games this week and next week – we need to find a way to slow the spread of this virus.
Second, call an emergency meeting between the owners and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) – we may also want to include/connect with our league’s stakeholders, partners, and sponsors, too, so we can alert them of our plan for returning to the field either later this month or at some point in November or December.
Third, it is time to adopt or re-think the “bubble” environment. And while establishing a “bubble” at this juncture of both the season and year may not be entirely feasible, perhaps the league could create regional bubbles where teams like the New England Patriots, New York Jets, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Philadelphia Eagles played each other twice.
Of course, creating a “regional bubble” would impact the current schedule, but if there is one thing I guess we’re learning from the college football world is that conference play seems to be working, and that might be the only way to salve the 2020 NFL season.
These are just a few thoughts and ideas I have at this exact moment – of course, I am sure I could generate other thoughts, too, so please stand by! – but if there is one thing that seems to be working, especially in 2020, it is establishing a “bubble” environment. It has worked well for other sports and seems to be working for certain family members or friends of mine, so if the NFL really wants to play football then maybe it is time to create a “bubble” while putting the health and safety of every member of its organization at the top of the list.
Like you, I want to see football played every Sunday, but as of this morning – and yes, the past few days, too – it just seems like the NFL has ignored this virus and thinks its business as usual. But unfortunately, 2020 is not business as usual, and we all know that.
Yesterday was a crazy day – did you hear the news about members of the Miami Marlins testing positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19)?
Also, the New York Yankees‘ fourth game of the season against the Philadelphia Phillies was postponed, which is not good news for Major League Baseball (MLB).
Here is the latest from the baseball world from ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Jessica Mendoza (below!):
While it seems like baseball is in a world of hurt, various members of the National Football League (NFL) are beginning to opt-out for the upcoming season.
We learned this morning that Dont’a Hightower of the New England Patriots has decided to stay on the sidelines this fall. Hightower recently became a father and is the fifth member of the Patriots to opt-out for the upcoming season.
Here is the current list of Patriots players that won’t be playing this year:
Dont’a Hightower (linebacker)
Marcus Cannon (offensive tackle)
Danny Vitale (fullback)
Najee Toran (guard)
Brandon Bolden (running back/special teams)
Could we see more players from our hometown Patriots decide to not play this fall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seems bullish on playing a “complete” season this year, despite recent upticks in coronavirus cases, but what exactly is does complete mean?
Switching gears (for a moment!), Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco admitted that the league’s biggest opponent in 2020 is Covid-19.
And just because we like to share positive news – it is a great way to wrap-up a ‘Daily Noontime,’ right? – here is New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick (below) talking about his love for lacrosse, as well as football!
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.