2020 NFL: Hot Mics, Coronavirus Testing and Zero Inflatable Dolls?


DALLAS – Heart racing, I watched Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning beat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in “The Match 2”. That’s right… I was highly entertained by a charity golf event.

The broadcast did so many things right. The celebrity golfers were mic’d up, picking on each other, exemplifying personalities and breaking down their golf moves. It was a welcome insight and one that the NFL would be smart to implement sans fans in the stands.

There is talk of the NFL telecasts having network-controlled noise. We've suggested in this space that putting live microphones on the sidelines would be even more entertaining. Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles, with a NSFW label ... and let 'er rip?

The return of televised sports is highly-anticipated with many details still unknown.

How can professional sports leagues mitigate risk, create a healthy and safe atmosphere while also entertaining the sports fan?

There is no template. As sports return, big and small, the leagues can learn from each other to create a new model for a Coronavirus world starved of touchdowns, baskets and home runs.

After creating a 51-page plan, Germany's Bundesliga became the first major European soccer league to return to action. Players are tested twice a week and, if they return a positive result, are placed into 14-day isolation. Everyone except on-field players and officials wears a mask. Fans are not in attendance and neither are mascots. Players celebrate with ankle or elbow taps. No one spits.

Those procedures seem fair to implement into the NFL season.

Without fans in the stands, the Korea Baseball League’s 10 teams have filled seats in a creative way, including stuffed animals. Which is a way better idea than the blow-up dolls that a South Korean football club employed.

Trial and error? Yes, we think it's safe to say ... The NFL should stay away from inflatable dolls in the stands.

The NFL has the opportunity to see how other sports fare in their new plans. After a virtual offseason, the 32 clubs have permission to open facility doors with the first game is scheduled for Sept. 10.

The NFL’s luxury of time has taught us that hot mics, strict Coronavirus testing and eliminating high-fives are a good idea to maintain safety and entertainment. But beyond that? It's a new "reality'' in sports ... and it's an unknown reality.