Cowboys Path To Super Bowl? Stay COVID-19-Free

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - As always, one of the best ways for a Super Bowl contender to actually arrive at that goal is to supplement its talent with good health. In a COVID-19 era, that seems more important than ever - so much so that I believe if the Dallas Cowboys recognize their medical staff as the team MVPs, they'll greatly increase their chances at a title.

And, I'll argue, this isn't just about members of the roster adhering to the guidelines given them by medical people - as a much of a "cluster****'' as one Cowboys source tells us that will be, for how can a team even huddle up while also observing social distancing?

I think the management of COVID-19 inside a team goes all the way from avoiding unsafe socializing to measures inside The Star (facial recognition technology, health quizzes, temperatures taken) ... to ownership quite possibly opting to pass on the revenue that will come if it pushes for fans in the stands ...

To instead keep its team members as isolated as possible. "No'' to fans. "Yes'' to quarantines. Maybe even "yes'' to the as-of-yet unexplored concept of inviting players and coaches to be housed an an NBA-like bubble.

Ask players to not leave the facility, for the entire season? To not go home at all, but rather to live at the Omni hotel right here on the campus of The Star? It's a drastic notion, I know. Many players and coaches will balk at it; they have kids and wives and lives, things that matter at least as much as football.

But I am here to predict that the contending team with the most stringent observation of COVID-19 guidelines will give itself a major advantage in its quest for a Super Bowl.

We have, sadly, turned the issue of "wearing a mask'' into some odd measure of "machismo,'' a demonstration of "my Constitutional rights'' and a supposed hint as to our political affiliation.

But let's keep this within the boundaries of "medical'' (and not "political'') and let's keep this within the boundaries of "winning football games'' and not "rights.'' If it would help the Cowboys win games to wear newly-invented different helmets (to prevent concussions) or newly-invented different pants (to prevent knee injuries) ... why would a Dallas player object because of who he voted for in an election?

Ezekiel Elliott has already contracted COVID-19 (and has voiced some concerns about league-wide safety). Most NFL medical minds suggest every team is destined to have a player, a coach, or a bunch of them, do the same. This is a reality that the league has yet to officially consider, but think about what I proposed on the radio a couple of weeks ago: Forget 55-man rosters. Teams might need 90-man rosters, with 25 of them working independent of the team, in their own sort of "quarantine,'' a "break-glass-in-case-of-emergency'' Practice Squad 2.0.

How much do each of us wish to avoid getting sick? We're all making that decision, for ourselves, on a daily basis. How much do the Dallas Cowboys and every other NFL team wish to avoid getting sick? The answer will, I predict, help determine who goes to the Super Bowl.