The NFL and NFLPA are frantically working through an updated return to play plan, with the biggest issues being regular testing for COVID-19, preseason games (or a lack thereof), and financial agreements for potential major changes that could come for various outcomes of fans/no fans and shortening the season if necessary due to the pandemic.
That those issues are still yet to be worked out as camp is set to begin in the next week is less than ideal, but after players put significant public pressure on the league over the weekend to get a plan in place, the two sides are reportedly working towards an agreement with the hope of it being done soon. That would be good news, although it remains to be seen exactly how training camp will go for the NFL as they remain committed to playing in home markets rather than considering a bubble like the NBA, NHL, MLS, WNBA, and NWSL.
Given the spikes in cases in many states, there has to be concern for outbreaks on some teams, but the hope is they can mitigate those risks and have players in camp and practicing. We will get to see all of that, as well as the tricky navigation of the current situation and potential pitfalls of NFL training camp during a pandemic on Hard Knocks, which will make its return to HBO’s air on August 11. This year, Hard Knocks is headed to L.A. where they will profile both the Rams and the Chargers as they prepare for the season in what should be a fascinating season given everything happening and the uniqueness of this camp.
The teaser sets up this Hard Knocks season to follow camp as usual, but it will be anything but a standard camp and what HBO puts out will be very interesting. They’ll have unique access to show how the teams are trying to keep players safe while also still preparing to play football, where distancing is impossible and players are often coming face-to-face. It figures to be an interesting watch, whether things go well or not for the NFL’s restart plan, and it will begin August 11.