ESPN host Kirk Herbstreit offered a devastating prediction for football fans looking for some good news amidst the coronavirus pandemic: Football season may be cancelled.
TMZ reports that Herbstreit, a football analyst who hosts the long-running series “College Gameday,” told ESPN Radio in an interview Thursday that he expects the coronavirus epidemic to prevent college football season and pro-football from happening this Fall.
“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens,” Herbstreit told ESPN Radio.
“Just because from what I understand, people that I listen to, you’re 12 to 18 months from a vaccine. I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it,” said Herbstreit, reports TMZ.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus expert, has warned against optimistic vaccine timelines due to the length of time it takes to determine whether a potential vaccine is both safe and effective, reports CNN.
“A vaccine that you make and start testing in a year is not a vaccine that’s deployable,” said Dr. Fauci.
The infectious disease expert has also told the news agency that the public should anticipate continued disruptions to daily life until the virus slows down.
“You’ve got to understand that you don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline,” said Dr. Fauci. “One week, two weeks, three weeks – you’ve got to go with what the situation on the ground is.”
According to TMZ, Herbstreit also mentioned that football seasons take a long time to prepare, and even if the health aspect was safe before the season started, it might already be too late.
“You don’t all of the sudden come up with something in July or August and say, ‘Okay we’re good to go’ and turn ’em loose,” said Herbstreit.
While the in-person festivities for the NFL draft have been cancelled, the actual event will still happen beginning on April 23.
In a memo obtained by ESPN on Thursday, Commissioner Roger Goodell told league officials that the NFL Management Council Executive Committee was in “unanimous” agreement that the draft should not be postponed.
“Everyone recognizes that the public health conditions are highly uncertain and there is no assurance that we can select a different date and be confident that conditions will be significantly more favorable than they are today,” Goodell wrote in the memo, reports the news agency.
New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, a member of a league subcommittee that recommended the draft be postponed, publicly stated his opinion on “The Peter King Podcast” the day before the memo was circulated among officials.
“I’d be personally in favor of delaying the draft, so that we can get some of the work done that our scouts and our personnel people ordinarily do,” said Loomis, reports the news agency. “The logistics of trying to conduct the draft, with not having access to your draft rooms and your offices, creates a lot of logistic problems.”