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Peterson: NFL rolls the dice on return

The National Football League is rolling the dice on its planned return to play.

COVID-19 has changed the way we live in every respect. And how the sports world is going to proceed is very much in question.

The NFL does have an advantage in that it can see how major league baseball, hockey and basketball is going to handle the predicament before it must do so.

Baseball has tentatively (and tentative is the operative word) settled on an 80-game schedule to begin in July.

Hockey and basketball are still trying to settle on a plan, not knowing what to do about the unfinished past season.

The NFL is going on the hopeful premise that it can operate training camps, a preseason and a regular season of 16 games.

The idea of a preseason is the one part that really puzzles me the most. With time at a premium in the whole shooting match, why waste time on meaningless contests?

Why do the owners, who already stand to lose big money by playing in empty or half-empty stadiums all season, feel that they can make any money on exhibition games?

They should be looking at a short training camp, followed by a preseason game or two, and then start the season in late August.

Just how the NFL is going to come with a plan to isolate a crowd of 20,000 people instead of the usual 50,000 or better is a real headscratcher.

That’s assuming they can cordon off sections at stadiums for safety sakes.

In baseball, that isn’t a problem at places like Miami or Tampa, where the attendance hovers around 10,000 or so.

But I can’t imagine that at venues like Lambeau Field or Ford Field, where the rabid fans need contact with others.

Overall, none of the above plans will stay afloat if this wicked virus isn’t brought under control.

And that remains the No. 1 priority under any circumstances you can imagine.

If not, we can all look forward to more exndless reruns … or such thrilling events as axe-throwing, cliff diving and cornhole.

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