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O-Zone: No more apologies

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Dan from Cary, NC

Given the need to make up revenue, it may be time for the NFL to sell access to out of market games in a more accessible manner. I've begrudgingly become a Direct TV customer just so I can watch the Jags. It's high time for the NFL to provide more options given the age of technology we are in.

The likelihood of dramatically fewer fans in the stands – and therefore dramatically less revenue for all teams – is causing the NFL to rethink many things entering the 2020 season. One notable change will be advertising on the tarps that this season will cover the seats closest to the field in all stadiums, and another is that teams will be able to sell signage that will – like the tarps – be visible on television. This is a major departure from the NFL's long-standing policy of not allowing such advertising to be visible in standard television angles. This is not greed on the part of the NFL's owners; rather, it's an effort to reduce at least somewhat each team's major financial losses with attendance expected to be a maximum 25 percent capacity much of the season because of COVID-19 precautions. As far as offering more viewing options for out-of-market fans to increase revenue, that – like pretty much everything else – almost certainly has been discussed. But it's not as if that's a new concept. Remember: if the NFL thought it could benefit finally by providing more out-of-market viewing options – or different ones – it would do so. If the league is doing things a certain way, it's almost always because that way is the way to maximize revenue.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

The fans are a part of it. Even watching road games, it translates – maybe even more so, missing the field goal and hearing the crowd cheer … oh, man … that stings. I've been watching since I can remember. I'm anxious about football without a stadium full of fans. All that energy translates to the television audience. It can't be the same thing without an extremely large live audience. I don't know –just wish it were normal like everybody else. I'll be living and dying on every play, Go Jags!

Most games in most sports will be played without fans – or with far fewer than usual – for the foreseeable future. This undoubtedly will look and feel different. Piped-in noise perhaps could help "normalize" things somewhat, but the reality should be clear by now: Very little about any sport is going to look and feel normal for what may be a long while. The game-day experience is no different.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Visiting Monday and I see they still show the Washington Team name and logo. Why so slow to react? The decision has been made. The name and logo are no longer viable, change the background and just refer to the team as their location. This should not be rocket science for the League.

I don't work for the "Washington Team" or the NFL, so I don't know exactly when the names and logos will change. The new logo and new name have yet to be made official. The guess here is that the removal of the old name will be made at the time of the official announcement. We'll see.

Robert from Jacksonville

Hey Zone, how about the Washington Wildcats or better yet the Washington Werewolves!?


Sean from Jacksonville

Guessing the new Washington team name will be the Washington Warriors. Do you have any guesses?

I've heard Warriors as much as I've heard anything else. I haven't been interested enough to have that many guesses.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

Do you have any idea how sweaty and nasty the inside of a facemask would get during a three-hour game in Jacksonville heat in September?! Ugh, barf... I'd rather just not go, even if I were part of the 25 percent who qualified.

I imagine the inside of a facemask will be very sweaty and very nasty in the Jacksonville heat in September. And I imagine many will agree with you and decide it's not worth it. I also imagine enough people will feel differently that tickets will still be scarce.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

You might have answered this Mighty-O, but who do you see in the NFL that Laviska Shenault Jr. compares most favorably to? I have seen about every highlight he produced in college and I am looking for a comparison. His build could suggest an NFL running back, hands of a go-to wide receiver and speed of an outside home run hitter. What should I hope for? I admittedly have been getting a little overexcited with the guy, but I don't know why. Why? Because I don't know who I can compare him to.

I shy away from comparing college players to established NFL players, mainly because the college and NFL games are so different that every player making the transition must adapt and succeed based on his own unique skillset. But I've seen Shenault compared a bit to Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers because of his running ability, and I've seen some comparisons to D.K. Metcalf of Seattle because of his impressive size. If you're a comparison person, those both make sense. The Jaguars see him as a player who can break tackles and add a physical dimension to the wide receiver corps the team hasn't had in some time – perhaps ever. If Shenault indeed is that sort of player, then he may make a mammoth difference to this offense.

Ryan from Detroit, MI

Zone: Theoretically, what would happen if a team's quarterback tests positive for COVID-19 on game day? Presumably, he's been in close contact with all the other quarterbacks on the roster in their position meeting, as well as in close contact with the offensive coordinator and head coach for game-planning that week. Would all those people have to quarantine? Would the team just forfeit the game?

Many questions about COVID-19 and the NFL begin with the word "theoretically." As such, they're pretty much impossible to answer with accuracy or insight. But I expect the league to do whatever possible to prevent the "disaster" scenario of a team's entire quarterback roster – or any other position – being simultaneously quarantined. Social distancing during meetings would be one approach. Not having all players in one position in the same meeting room and instead meeting via teleconference might be another. In the case of quarterback, I also could see teams having at least one player quarantined at all times – possibly going so far as to not have that player practice with the team. But remember: the thrust of the COVID-19 "bubble" measures is to prevent the virus from being inside the bubble in the first place. As far as what would happen if an entire position group indeed had to quarantine, forfeiting would be a last resort. I could see teams signing players off the street en masse the day before the game before I could see forfeits. Theoretically.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

You forgot Unnecessary Roughness and The Waterboy. People take football too seriously sometimes. Life should be fun, and funny. Lighten up zone.

I didn't forget Unnecessary Roughness or the Waterboy when listing my favorite football movies. I did leave out the original Longest Yard. Barely. And Gus was funny. That Don Knotts could coach, brother.

John from Jacksonville

Am I insensitive to see the NFL as becoming a day care for spoiled and bratty grown-ups? You want more money … sure, how many million more will make you stop crying? You want the season off to avoid getting a very bad flu, sure, don't play this season even though you are just as likely to get the virus playing with the other kids anyway. You want to look important by protesting and marching for a bogus cause, sure, we love controversy because we are cowards anyway. When does it stop? The NFL has lost its way and its appeal. I so much more respected players from prior decades. So sad.

Sports fans of a certain age have long thought players of a certain – and presumably younger – age spoiled and bratty, particularly when those players make a lot of money and express strong opinions. This was true in a prior decade such as 1960s with a sports figure such as Muhammad Ali and remains true today. Is it sad? I don't know. I do know it's not a new phenomenon.

Aqeel from Toronto, Canada

KOAF ... All men have secrets and here is mine. So, let it be known, for we have been through hell and high tide. I think I can rely on you and yet you start to recoil. Heavy words are so lightly thrown, but still I'd leap in front of a flying bullet for you. So, what difference does it make?

It makes none.