Dealing with Uncertainty Phil Hoffmann/Baltimore Ravens

Street Talk Dealing with Uncertainty

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There are several scenarios being kicked around about the upcoming NFL season.

The Ravens players and coaches are just hoping to get back on the field and embark on a potential run to the Super Bowl.

The NFL is still dealing with the implications COVID-19 could have on the schedule and is developing several versions of a potential schedule depending on when the game can begin. 

As it stands, the 2020 regular season is scheduled to open Thursday, Sept. 10. The NFL plans to release the full schedule early next month, but that announcement could include some contingency plans because of the coronavirus. 

One idea has the regular-season beginning on Oct. 15 and concluding Feb. 28 with the Super Bowl. Another alternative is skipping the bye week for each team and canceling the Pro Bowl, which would also eliminate the off-week between the AFC and NFC championships and the Super Bowl. 

The Ravens players and coaches are cautiously optimistic they will play at some point in 2020. They began virtual workouts this week under an agreement between the league and the NFLPA. 

Prior to those meetings, the players were forced to work out by themselves at home. Tight end Mark Andrews said spending the extra time with family has helped ease some of the anxiety in one of the most turbulent times in our lifetime. 

“There’s so much uncertainty during this time,” Andrews said. “You look ahead and you ask yourself, ‘Is there going to be football this season?’ I don’t think anybody knows. So, for a lot of the guys on the team … it’s about focusing on family right now and then just listening to all your health officials.

“Knowing that everybody is in this together, everyone’s going to help fight this virus together, so that’s where our minds are going to be at right now. We’re not sure what’s going to happen, but we have to focus on the things that matter. That’s family and social distancing and being smart.”

For now, it appears the NFL is determined to move ahead with the regular-season schedule as planned. So far, the league has done an effective job working around the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. The NFL proceeded with the 2020 draft as planned without fans. Instead, the league placed more cameras in the homes of player personnel, coaches and draft picks.

That proved to be a successful strategy because the league managed the highest TV ratings in the history of the draft. Even if life returns to normal next year, league officials reportedly plan to keep some of the same strategies with the in-home cameras because it resonated so well with the fans.

As far as the season goes, Ravens coach John Harbaugh is preparing for almost every type of scenario. One way or another, the Ravens will be fully ready to compete when and if the 2020 regular season kicks off.

“If it’s shortened, how are we going to get more out of the time that we’re allotted to be the best we can be the first game, and be better than the people we’re playing, so we can win? [I’m] just looking at it like that,” Harbaugh said. “It’s an opportunity. People are going to do it differently. It’s not something that people have had a lot of experience with, because it’s going to be new for everybody. 

“I’m very hopeful that we can find a way through faith and effort to do it better than the other guy and win games. So, that’s kind of what I’m thinking about every day.”  

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Todd Karpovich

About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich

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