FALCON POINTS

Despite concerns, the NFL season will happen in some form

Texans' JJ Watt has some concerns. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Spoiler alert: There will be NFL football this season. No matter what else you read here, take heart in that. There might be fits and starts, delays and problems, but it will happen, despite a lot of chatter otherwise. There will be a lot of negotiation back and forth, much like there was with baseball. It will be frustrating and sometimes infuriating, but something will get done. Let's start with that.

Still, players like J.J. Watt have every right to be concerned. Playing games in home stadiums will not be easy.

First off, the concern of illness is not high for athletes, although the Rona can be tough on anyone at its worse. But their families, team support staff, coaches...all would be at risk. While the NBA and NHL are playing in a bubble, NFL players will not, which means they will be more likely to be exposed.

They will also be in constant contact with each other on the field, so the illness will get passed along if someone has it. There will be no surprise if multiple players opt out, including a few big names. That is perfectly OK; players have every right to make those kinds of decisions.

It's a decision that transcends sports. Many companies are having to make similar choices. In fact, re-opening schools will have a related impact. While the students should be OK, many of the teachers will be at risk. The difference is that fewer of them will be able to opt out, simply because they can't afford to do so. That dynamic, plus the contact of the sport, probably means college football is not as likely to happen.

But the NFL will still likely figure out a way. Limited or no fans, the TV deals alone are too much to ignore. European soccer has been able to thrive under a similar model, but while there is contact, it is not what NFL players endure. Baseball is doing it as well, but there is limited physical contact, so the risk is not as high. Regardless, it is hard to predict how things will play out.

The NFL could have limited travel by creating a bubble model of its own. Playing games in cities like Houston or Dallas, which have multiple quality stadiums, eliminating interconference play and keeping players in one city could limit the possibility of the disease spreading. But that is not something that has been considered.

So with this model comes risk, and the players are rightfully concerned. The result? There will be a lot of back and forth. Some players will sit out, and that may include impact athletes like Watt, which will have a negative effect on some teams. There will be concerns that the season won't happen. But in the end, a deal will be made, and there will be football.

And risk. But the reward will be America's greatest sport having some semblance of a season.

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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