NFL is giving us the coronavirus distraction we desperately need
There will be some during these perilous times who rail at the NFL for going full steam ahead at noon Monday with the legal tampering portion of free agency, and I can fully understand those who consider the prospect of millionaires becoming multi-millionaires bad optics.
Then again, the NFL is our national pastime, and it stands today as the only game in town.
None of these signings will put any of the free agents or the men doling out the dollars in harm’s way. There will be no physicals until the insidious storm subsides and passes, however long that may be.
These are electronic transactions, phone and fax and email, a much different proposition than the April 23-25 NFL draft extravaganza, which will have to be postponed if we cannot — here it comes — flatten the curve — and immediately.
Especially now that the CDC is recommending no gatherings of 50-plus people in the United States for the next eight weeks.
I give you this recent tweet from Elon Musk:
“Fear is a mind killer.”
These are sobering times when no one can tell themselves that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
Fear of the unknown will unfortunately cause a spike in anxiety among us, and possibly depression in too many instances.
We have been held hostage to coronavirus press conferences and infectious disease experts on any and all of the networks.
Thankfully, we still have Netflix.
Thankfully, we still have Hulu.
Thankfully, we still have YouTube.
And thankfully, we still have the NFL.
We have the high drama of whether Tom Brady, the GOAT, will stay with Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft and try to keep the Patriots’ dynasty alive, or take his talents to Tampa Bay.
We can discuss the merits of the Titans giving Ryan Tannehill a four-year, $118 million contract with $62 million fully guaranteed. RYAN TANNEHILL!!
We can yuk it up over the prospect of Jerry Jones apoplectic at what this means to get Dak Prescott signed. Late word has him tagging Prescott so he can sign Amari Cooper.
Patriots fans can celebrate keeping Devin McCourty.
Jets fans: Your new GM Joe Douglas may be poised to make a run at right tackle Jack Conklin to begin the rebuilding of Sam Darnold’s offensive line with the $60 million or so he will have at his disposal. Unless the Titans decide to sign running back Derrick Henry and tag Conklin. How hard will Douglas push to keep Robby Anderson?
Giants fans: Do you want Dave Gettleman to sign Leonard Williams? Byron Jones? Logan Ryan? Cory Littleton? Kyle Van Noy?
How ’Bout Them Ravens, acquiring Calais Campbell for a mere fifth-round pick!
How about one extra playoff team in each conference now that the new CBA has ushered in another decade of labor peace. Perhaps it will help Adam Gase break the Jets’ nine-year playoff drought, right? Perhaps it will help Joe Judge, one of the rookie heads coaches who isn’t being helped by any delay.
Look, the last thing any of us needs to do right now is panic. It will get worse before it gets better, but we will get through this. Together.
Perhaps NFL free agency can do its small part to help us get through this.
At the very least, it can give us a respite from obsessing over minute-by-minute play-by-play of this rapidly changing global pandemic.
It will give us a welcome diversion from a reeling stock market.
It will hopefully make us stress out a little less over a temporary toilet paper shortage, and hoarding, and school and bar and restaurant closings. And enhanced testing.
There was no Selection Sunday show, there are no NCAA Tournament office pools, there is no Opening Day for the Yankees or Mets, or for any of the other 28 MLB teams. There are no Knicks games, with or without Spike Lee, there are no Nets games, no games for any of the other 28 NBA teams. There are no Rangers games, no Islanders games, no Devils games, no games for any of the other 28 NHL teams.
Some will see the NFL plowing ahead with business as usual as tone deaf and insensitive. I get that. But if not now, when? What if things deteriorate? Then what? When would there be a good time? The free agents will be getting paid whether it’s beginning officially at noon Wednesday, when players can sign deals agreed to over the next two days, or next month or beyond. Let the game begin.
The only game we will have right now.
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