The coronavirus was first reported in the United States only a few weeks ago, but the aggressive spread has forced sports leagues to shutter events, games, and even suspend seasons. The NBA took the unprecedented step of pausing the remainder of the season. March Madness will occur without fans. The MLB ceased operations and delayed the start of the regular season by two weeks.
The NFL has yet to announce plans for the NFL Draft, typically an event attended by thousands of fans. However, teams began announcing they were restricting travel for coaches and scouts, while Adam Schefter reported teams were considering shutting down training facilities. Now the Falcons can be counted among that number, the team announced Thursday.
A statement regarding COVID-19: pic.twitter.com/Gl7YCNnje3— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) March 12, 2020
Falcons shutting down their offices until Monday “for an intense cleaning throughout the entire facility.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2020
The NFL has a number of upcoming events that may need to be canceled, rescheduled, or modified to prevent large groups of people. The league announced the “league year” will start as scheduled. Here is the run down of the top events that may be impacted by the coronavirus.
- March 29 to April 1: Annual League Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida (canceled on March 12)
- April 6: Offseason workouts start for teams with new coaches
- April 20: Offseason workouts start for remaining teams
- April 23-25: NFL Draft in Las Vegas, Nevada
- April 27: Teams can meet with XFL players
- May 1-4/8-11: Rookie minicamp
- May 14-17: NFLPA Rookie Premiere
- Late June: Rookie Transition Program
- Mid-July: Training camp
Offseason workouts are pretty limited with players typically limited to working with weights and cardio. The draft is a big question mark as the league has been moving the draft around the country for the multi-day event. Losing the opportunity to introduce Las Vegas to the NFL would be a big miss. The biggest problem is if the virus is still churning in July, likely forcing the NFL to delay the start of the season.
Teams may miss additional time with draft prospects and free agents. Per NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, scouts are worried about the extensive travel considering prospects have years of game film to go along with combine measurements and pro days.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a number of precautions for the coronavirus. Those generally include staying away from large crowds as people can spread the virus without showing symptoms. The virus is especially problematic for older adults and people with other medical conditions.
In order to prevent transmission:
- Wash your hands often
- Start noticing how often you touch your face which is apparently always
- Avoid people who are sick
- Stay home if you are sick
- Wear a face mask if sick
- Clean and disinfect everything regularly
It is unclear how the coronavirus may impact the NFL season and the Falcons.