Jeff Brohm's plan for a spring football season has garnered lots of attention today, as it should. It's impressive in its depth and detail and, once you get past the shock of admitting it won't be the way it's supposed to be -- pretty convincing.
But it's not the only plan out there. Far from it.
As Albert Breer writes at Sports Illustrated, college coaches and NFL types have batted around a plan that would begin the weekend of Jan. 1 with an 8-game regular season over a 9-week schedule, with the postseason wrapping up by mid-March.
Games would be played on Thursday and Friday nights through the completion of the NFL playoffs -- or, at least through the first couple weekends, until Championship Sunday. They would be played at indoor facilities in the Big Ten footprint -- and, specific to the Big Ten and/or the MAC, use domes in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Detroit and Syracuse.
As Breer writes:
I’m told these are ideas that have been discussed by college coaches already and, notably, NFL teams would be willing to help. The Lions, for one, were approached by a Big Ten school all the way back in the spring about using Ford Field in this way. NFL teams also have discussed what it would take to move the combine and the draft back a month (potentially having the combine in early April and draft in late May) to accommodate the college game.
The best and worst part of this plan is the timing.
Starting earlier allows you to finish earlier. It provides the least disruption to the NFL calendar, which makes it more likely for that league to cooperate by adjusting the combine and the draft, and provides more time for injuries to heal. This makes it more likely that top players would participate, giving the whole endeavor a greater air of legitimacy.
But it also decreases the amount of time necessary to see the coronavirus suppressed among the population at large, and increases the urgency for breakthroughs in testing, treatment and vaccinations. All of those things, we've learned, are out of the schools' control.
Can you imagine repeating the delay, delay, cancel cycle we all just endured again this winter?
The Brohm Plan and the January Plan highlight heart of the spring dilemma. The longer you wait, the greater the chance for a virus breakthrough... and the greater disruption to the fall 2021 calendar. The faster you start, the less the disruption to the calendar, but the greater the risk that nothing changes between now and then.
We're in the first few hours of this new, weird world, and there's no need to figure out a spring season today, tomorrow, or next week. After all, there's one resource everyone in the Midwest and West Coast has in abundance these days: time.