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Will There Be An NFL Season? The NFL vs. the NFLPA vs. the Media – The ‘Play’ Happening Before Our Eyes…

July 15, 2020 9:51 PM
July 16, 2020 9:30 AM

Will There Be An NFL Season? The NFL vs. the NFLPA vs. the Media – The ‘Play’ Happening Before Our Eyes…


The next few weeks of ‘will they play?’ and ‘how will they play?’ is going to be like a ‘play’…an acted-out play with us as the audience. The actors have their roles and character motivations, and they’re going to go out into the public and act out this play for us – as the media reacts to it oblivious to the ‘play’ that’s happening, as will most of the fans.

I think the NFL is going to play their regular season but only play one preseason game (as a kind of walk through on things), possibly playing zero games.

I think it’s 98%+ likely we play a Week 1.

I think it’s 90%+ we play a full season (no ‘second wave’ disruptions…but they could put a pause or cut the regular season by a few games).

For the next couple days/weeks, it will be all media hysteria on fears of the players dying mid game from COVID (when they are more likely to be struck by lightning in-game than dying of the virus these days) – but the media is the most predictable character in this play.

See this chart (click and scroll down a bit to the colorful graph) and realize how we’re all being misled on virus things right now: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm

Thinking of the next few weeks and months as a literal ‘play’, a collective of people acting in front us, consider taking in/watching the next few weeks and months of conjecture with the following in mind that these are really ‘characters’ in the ‘play’ and we know what their written/character motivations are…and then we can better not fall for their public words/script when we realize the ‘play’ being acted out in front of us.

The main theme is – no matter what they say or feel or worry about or whatever…money/$$$ is going to win the day, as it always does. The money/$$$ is in playing not sitting out a season. The Ivy League and others can cancel sports because it costs them money…it’s a good/smart thing for them to cancel sports.

The Big Ten, PAC-12, ACC, SEC, the NFL, etc. – they make money, lots of it…and they aren’t not going to make money with a current virus situation with declining death rates/totals for the past 10+ weeks in a row and almost on the verge of not being able to be called an epidemic or pandemic (statistically speaking). Money-making football is going to be played, whether you emotionally think it’s 100% wise or if you believe they are all going to be responsible for death in America, or you’re somewhere in-between.

I am not expressing my ‘feelings’/emotions on whether they are going to play here – I am simply going to ‘follow the money’ and the answer to everything in life usually lies there…like it or not.


Here are the actors in this giant ‘play’ being performed for your amusement/anxiety…

The NFL = Their character in this play is one that wants a 2020 football season at any cost. They only exist if they are in business -- and if there is no season, that business gets walloped and has ripple effects ahead. They cannot have that. They will do or agree to just about anything that gets the season safely played at a nice profit.

Hospitalization or death from COVID-19 for a professional football player (their age and peak health/physical condition) has far lower odds than driving in their car to the store or to a game or practice, right now…and medical solutions are advancing rapidly to aid the cause. The NFL can play and everyone is safe. The NFL knows they can do this, and thus they are not risking players lives…it would be dumb for them to kill their assets. They’re not.  

The NFL’s public character motivation/display to all of us is one that has to show concern for all things (safety and social justice), but push as hard as they can to get the season played without yielding much on money, future cap, and getting too tangled in social justice/pissing anyone off). Everything they do is to get a deal done with the NFLPA (a group they always get the upper hand on in recent decades) and get a season and money train going.

Many NFL contracts are guaranteed the moment the first snap happens, regardless if they cancel Weeks 2-17. The NFL has to have a provision for ‘what happens in a partial season’…it’s a must, or the NFLPA will agree to play and then wait one week into the season and then they’ll all want to cancel the season with their deals guaranteed.

The NFL is ‘nice’ now, but be prepared for a character twist ahead -- that they’ll have to get nasty and claim there may be no season to scare the players. The ultimate upper hand in all this is – the owners just say ‘fine’ and drop the season and take a loss they can all afford, and personally crush (financially) many non-top tier players. Be prepared that the NFL starts claiming a possible cancelled season…but it’s to force the NFLPA’s hand is all. It will work (in the negotiations) too. Hopefully, they won’t have to go to that extreme…but they might have to knock the NFLPA on their ass and get real in negotiations.  


The NFLPA = Their character in this play is to get the best deal/most money or benefit for their players that they can while not sacrificing all the paydays from this season and next season – they can threaten not playing, but they absolutely do NOT want that to happen.

This NFLPA public display character/role/motivations will be to squawk and whine and complain about safety/fears and will have you believe that players could be dying midgame if they have to…all to put public/media pressure on the league for the best deal possible (just like how they always threaten a strike just ahead of time to renegotiate their deal with the NFL…but then never do the past couple decades). Inflammatory rhetoric and posturing are what they’re going to do as a best negotiating ploy…but in the end they have a pea shooter in this fight against a machine gun.

The NFLPA wants a season as bad as the NFL does…they just can’t admit it that too much or they lose negotiations and lose face with the players (the players want the NFLPA to be seen as rowdy and fighting for them…so the NFLPA has to give them a show). The NFLPA is going to try and bark loud to get the preseason reduced to zero games (because players would LOVE that) but what they are REALLY working to try and do is to save on/halt/minimize big reductions in the 2021 and 2022 payrolls/salary cap if the revenue drops big this year (as it will drop in 2020 with reduced fans in stadiums…and the next year’s salary cap growth/cut is tied to the prior year’s revenue).

The NFLPA needs a 2020 season…they just have to act like they don’t for bargaining. Watch the talk of the 2021 and 2022 salary cap discussions more than anything else…that’s what this is mostly about for the NFLPA. They minimally care about the player’s safety…they care more about their jobs and getting the players paid and collecting dues off it.


The Owners = Their character in this play…they want the season as much as the NFL but could survive without it if push came to shove. They don’t like losing money and the virus fatality risk is so incredibly low for the players, they know their players/assets are safe. In the end, the owners want to play this season vs. taking a small hit to their fortunes.

To execute their role in this play, they are best to lay low and always talk about safety. They should all be about the safety measures and concerned about safety. They really are concerned (these players are assets to them), but not as much as they’ll make you think…they want to play and earn and they don’t fear the virus because they can read graphs and data better than most. The owners have the easiest job in this – show concern for safety, talk little, and have millions/billions stockpiled so if they lose a season…no big deal for most all of them. 

The owners cannot have contracts fully guaranteed after the first snap of the season, regardless of whether it gets cancelled after – so, pay attention to what agreement is made on that front. If the NFLPA doesn’t give that contracts are proportional to games played in 2020…then the owners should shut the season down. The NFL season would not be shut down (if it did happen) because of safety concerns…it would be because the owners are not guaranteeing contracts fully with the unknown. It would be stupid if they did. The NFLPA cannot not play/earn, so they will squawk (because that’s their role) but in the end they have to agree to some kind of 2020 modification with the owners.


The Players = Their character in this play is to be a version of what the owners are doing – hide behind someone else as you act/do things that are of benefit to you. The owners hide behind the NFL office/Roger Goodell. The players let the NFLPA do the dirty work for them, as they should.

The players want to play and get paid. They aren’t afraid of the virus…no more than they are while out partying in groups and at bars or private party gatherings or doing private team workouts together, etc. The NFLPA made them stop working out together because it was hurting the negotiating tactic of all the players ‘being concerned’…the NFLPA didn’t care about safety, they cared about negotiations on the private workouts. The players would all be at Tom Brady’s mansion working out in the yard if the NFLPA didn’t stop them…so, you know the players aren’t scared of this, not really.

If they took a private vote, 90%+ of the players are ready to go to work with daily or so testing…if not 98%+ ready to roll.

There will be a rare few legit medical concern players (themselves or a loved one at home)…they can opt-out – and it will be a few fringe players and maybe one super well-paid over his career veteran or two that can afford to skip. Player’s don’t have to play football…no different than anyone in any workplace HAS to work anywhere. It’s still, mostly, a free country. You don’t have to do a particular job…there are other jobs to go find. You don’t HAVE TO play football…it’s not a labor camp they’re stuck in against their will. But they want to, for nice money, and they aren’t really afraid of the virus, and they will play no matter what their ‘character’ says in public.

The message from the NFLPA is to be ‘concerned’ not ‘optimistic’…so, just realize that as you watch the ‘play’. There will be certain players barking about ‘fears’ and ‘concerns’…most all of it on purpose/with a purpose – getting the NFL to bend to no preseason games and not penalizing salary caps too hard in 2021 and 2022, and getting a good deal in worst case scenarios in 2020. It’s not for fear of the virus.


The Media = Their character in this play is to do what they have done for 10+ years now…stir up controversy in the name of ‘concern’…but their only concern is the same as the NFL/owners and the NFLPA/players – it’s all about money. The media profits on crisis, chaos, and division (thus ratings, better ad rates, and the spotlight on media personalities). They don’t care about football beyond any purpose it serves them…advertising or any social justice chaos to report on or whatever makes ‘good news’ to whip all us into a frenzy over.

The media will stoke the flames by breathlessly reporting on positive virus cases in certain states, and purposefully ignoring any reporting on the death rates dropping to ridiculously low amounts – they certainly don’t want to give people any hope or good news on the great things that are happening statistically and developmentally; there’s no money in that.

The media will stoke the flames/shape the story by doing long interviews with ‘concerned’ players and coaches and anyone who is ‘concerned’. If Dr. Fauci said -- we could play football because of the great testing and excellent health of the players…it would be ignored or there would be theories he’s being put up to saying such things. If Dr. Fauci said that -- he is ‘concerned’ about playing and spreading the virus – then every story is headlined with that and criticizing how any reasonable person could think to question Dr. Fauci or want to have a football season when half the players might die from the virus in-game. The mainstream media is a problem in all things. The people of America are mostly normal and kind and neighborly. The media/news can’t sell that news slant/angle, so they need to keep dividing us and scaring us with hysterical reporting.

The NFLPA will use this media cult to do their bidding…to raise fear in hopes to get no preseason games and no big reductions to the cap in 2021 and 2022.. The NFLPA doesn’t have to ask the media to do this…the media does what they do for their own gain. The NFLPA will just ‘draft’ behind them taking the lead.


The Politicians = Their character in this play is to do what they always do…stoke up the argument and send out fundraiser letters off of it. They are the least useful characters in the play…but, like all the other characters, they are motivated by money not in fairness or right and wrong.

The politicians want ALL THE MONEY, and the power/spotlight. They will get most of it too…

The politicians almost all want the NFL to play. They want the tax revenues in their city/state. They don’t want to tick off their constitutes by taking away football when everyone else is playing. They’ll also make money making it a political issue to fight over…and then put their hand out and ask ‘we the people’ for donations to fight a fight that isn’t a real fight.

The politicians will be ‘concerned’ in public, as the money rolls in the backdoor from various sources. They could care less. It’s just another thing to keep us fighting on social media amongst each other.


The Fans/Fantasy Players = We’ll play our typical role too -- the dupes getting heart strings pulled at because all the characters in the play are threatening to take away the things we like/love.

What looks like a real life battle, a tenuous time trying to figure out how to safely play football with the virus looming and maybe we have to sit this one season out…as we’re holding our breath (to a degree) – what looks like a real battle is really just a public negotiation/posturing/’play’ over not playing a preseason and salary cap future percentage fights you don’t really understand/care about – the real motives being given cloud cover by ‘virus concerns’ and ‘people are going to die’ rhetoric.

Don’t get distracted by their public negotiating/games…see it happening and laugh, and always think/know that they are all really wanting to play because there is too much money at stake from all parties involved (except the media loses, so they won’t go down without a fight). They are all just ‘actors’ acting in this play…to try and get the best deals they can…and con us in the process, as part of getting what they want.

Never let a good crisis go to waste…is the battle cry of people who want your money and/or power over us.


Play summary:

They are going to play football this season unless the media’s prayers are answered and we get a mystical ‘second wave’ that’s super-deadly…the kind of wave the media is praying for to happen and writing theoretical stories about/odes to already. They are never NOT in their character in all this. There will be a nightly ‘second wave’ watch (party) on all the news shows coming up when school starts back or a star NFL player is quarantined and had the sniffles for a day…as the media cherry-picks whatever loose strand of data works for their narrative and distracting us from any success/rapidly dropping death totals and hospitalizations if they have to. The media will play their part in the play always…hopefully, we’ll stop playing ours, as fans, so easily.  

Most fans/fantasy players will be ignorant dupes…the same kind of people that believes everything ESPN or NFL Network says about football players/things because ‘they must know things because they’re on TV/radio’. Hopefully, you reading this…the FFM crowd…will stop allowing them to use you/me as pawns, or at least all of us not react hysterically to the ‘play’ they are acting out in front of us.

I used to be a pawn in the football fandom years ago…not anymore. There’s going to be regular season football this year until there’s a real reason not to – and we don’t have any real statistical reason not to right now. Not even close.

I’m not going back to this lifestyle where ‘they’ (the media, the NFL, the NFLPA, the players) use me/us fans as sport/fodder in their negotiations/money-grabbing.

I’m not going back to this mindset (we’re the coyote here): https://youtu.be/0xsLXuUEqbI


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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

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