It’s important to make sure priorities are in order any time discussions of the Covid-19 pandemic begin. Thousands are ill or dying. Medical practitioners and first responders are putting their lives in danger every day. Small businesses are struggling. The worldwide economy is reeling.
But for many Americans who are desperately hoping for an eventual return to normalcy, the kickoff of the 2020 NFL season represents one such glimmer of a world from before coronavirus. Much like how the New Orleans Saints’ return to the Superdome in 2006 was more than just football, instead being symbolic of a community that has taken a major step forward in the recovery after Hurricane Katrina, the 2020 NFL regular season could bring to many football fans the opportunity, albeit even if only for a few hours each week on game day, to escape from the reality around them and get lost in the game of football.
There’s only one problem: There is technically no guarantee the 2020 season is able to proceed as scheduled. Sure, there have been talks about the potential to have NFL games without fans in attendance, but even that would be one of the best case scenarios. The 2020 NFL Draft generally went off without a hitch, but it was “virtual” in nature with teams and players practicing social distancing from the comfort of their respective homes. Unfortunately, unless we transitioned to a 2020 season played only on the Playstation 4’s Madden video game, it would be impossible to have the same degree of safety and precaution for actual football games, even without fans there to participate live.
And that brings up the ominous question looming in the back of some NFL fans and media around the country: Could we see a 2020 calendar year without a regular season of the NFL? And there then lies the question Saints fans don’t want to face: If there’s no 2020 season, what does that mean for Drew Brees?
Sources close to the Saints have told me Drew Brees’s 2020 waiting game of “will he” or “won’t he” retire was a legitimate one. Brees was, according to sources, legitimately weighing the possibility of retirement after the 2019 season. Instead, he decided to give it at least another season, posting on Instagram he was returning for the 2020 season and signing a two-year contract extension to stay in New Orleans.
And then the zombie apocalypse broke out.
Reports are Drew Brees has lined up a television gig for life after football with NBC to cover Sunday Night Football. While Brees is in incredible shape for a 41-year-old NFL quarterback, a lack of a 2020 NFL season would mean he’s now going to experience, for the first time since high school, a year without the wears and tears on his body from tackle football. He would also have, for the first time in his children’s lives, the opportunity to be home to spend the majority of this time with his family.
Based off everything I’ve heard, and the rumors, and the misspeaks from around the team, assuming we were to have a 2020 NFL season, with or without fans in the stadiums, I fully anticipate the 2020 season to be Drew’s last year. This is despite the fact his current extension does not expire until after the 2021 season. And if there isn’t a 2020 season, then who knows? Drew could come back healthier than ever and itching to get back to football in 2021, his age 42 season, the last year of his contract. On the other hand, he could also decide he’s enjoyed this time with his family and jump right in to this new job with NBC.
Forget all of the talk about Taysom Hill being a potential franchise quarterback or whether Jameis Winston has any sort of long-term role with this team. The more important question, and the question we would all hope we never have to answer, is:
Have we already seen the last of Drew Brees on the New Orleans Saints, but just not realize it?
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