Uncertainty continues to reign during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but optimism remains when it comes to the NFL's immediate future.
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is one of at least a few significant league figures who believes the world will get its NFL football in 2020, even if it might not look quite the same on television.
"I think there's definitely going to be a football season this year," Ross said during an appearance on CNBC. "The real question is: Will there be fans in the stadiums? I think right now, today, we're planning on having fans in the stadiums. But the NFL is looking at and is very flexible so that we will be able to start on time and really bring that entertainment that's really so needed to all of us in this country.
"I think that's one thing that we miss is our sports. I don't think a lot of people realize it until they no longer have it. But certainly the NFL, I think, will be ready to go and I think we're all looking forward to it. I know I am. We've done a lot of things down in Miami here and we're prepared either way, and hopefully there will be fans in the stadiums."
The league continues to operate on its normal schedule, minus the in-person offseason activities that were wiped out by necessary restrictions resulting from the pandemic. When asked about the viability of a 2020 season, there seems to be a growing sense among owners that a campaign without fans is very much a possibility, though the league has made no determinations on the matter.
Teams are slowly reopening facilities where permitted under the "governing state and local regulations" provided they "are in compliance with additional public health requirements in their jurisdiction, and have implemented the protocols" as directed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a May 15 memo. As of Tuesday's announcement from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, the Jets and Giants became the latest teams to be allowed to reopen their facilities, though they've yet to do so.
As with everything right now, it continues to be a wait-and-see approach. But at least from the viewpoint of some owners, football is very much in play for 2020, which as Ross said Tuesday should be encouraging for all of us.