Yesterday the NFL announced that the Steelers and Cowboys are no longer going to play in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.
I wouldn't look at this as a sign of things to come for the league.
Yes, Covid-19 is a real threat. Players like Malcolm Jenkins are already weary of the risks of playing in the midst of a pandemic.
I still think, despite the rise in cases around the country, that the NFL is going to try to power through its regular season schedule.
Losing the Hall of Fame game doesn't change my thoughts on that.
The Hall of Fame game is just about the most cancel-able event that the NFL has. In fact, it was scrapped in 2011 because of a labor dispute and again in 2016 because of poor playing field conditions.
The game is the ugly redheaded stepchild of the NFL calendar. There would have been teams on the field in Canton that were wearing NFL uniforms, but those teams would have been comprised of players that don't have actual NFL talent.
The Hall of Fame game is fun for exactly 15 seconds before everybody watching nationally asks, "who the hell is Deon Cain?!" The NFL knows this and knows that it's expendable.
The charm of that game is that it announces that FOOTBALL IS BACK! Well, that same charm will be there whenever the season kicks off.
I don't think this is a harbinger of things to come for the NFL. The league simply cancelled an event that they could afford to cancel.
Speaking of which, due to the pandemic, I do think we'll see the preseason get cut in half. We know that the preseason only exists as a money making ploy.
I think we're going to see how obnoxious it is that teams have had to play four or five preseason games. Coaches will somehow find a way to fill out rosters. Starters will find a way to gear up for the regular season. We're going to see just how useless the lengthy preseason is.