Postponing the Hall of Fame Game was the only decision
This year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton and the Hall of Fame’s enshrinement ceremony has been postponed to next year amid concerns around the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Steelers and Cowboys were set to play each other in the preseason opener in Canton on August 6 with this summer’s Hall of Fame inductions taking place on August 8. Both of these events have been pushed back to August 2021 where the Hall of Fame enshrinement will be a two class induction.
This news comes as multiple teams report confirmed cases of coronavirus within their players and staff and the NFL discusses shortening the pre-season schedule from four games down to two.
In a press release, David Baker, president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame said: “The health and safety of our Hall of Famers, fans and volunteers who make Enshrinement Week so special remains our top priority.
Cancellation was the only option
Teams are set to return to training camps on July 28 but with the preseason opener now cancelled and the preseason itself likely to be shortened and delayed, the 2020/21 NFL season looks likely to fail.
As David Baker mentioned in his cancellation announcement, the health and safety of everyone involved is the biggest priority right now. A shorter or non-existent preseason is a small price to pay to keep teams healthy ahead of the start of the regular season.
By cancelling the preseason games and delaying training camps the NFL and NFLPA can aim to avoid outbreaks by stripping the league timetable of anything non-essential.
As we get closer to the season start date we do have to consider the very real risk that the entire season is delayed or potentially cancelled until teams are able to return safely.
While we may all be missing our regular dose of sports action, we need to remain concentrated on delaying the spread of Covid-19. Only then can we ensure our favourite teams are able to play without risk and without further delay and disruption.