If you want to boil the frustration of every football player and coach who isn't playing this fall down to one issue, it's probably this: Players and coaches have largely done what was asked of them to have a season, but that season was postponed or lost altogether by people outside the building who felt like the rules didn't apply to them.
That dynamic played out in real time at a high school football game in Utah last night.
While some states aren't playing ball again until 2021, Utah is among the handful of states to crank back up this month. In fact, Utah was the first; this weekend's games represent Week 2 of their high school season.
But the fact that games are happening now is not a guarantee they will continue forever. The rules still apply. And when American Fork AD Jeremy Lewis saw fans behaving as if the state's social distancing rules didn't apply to them, he shut the game down until everyone complied.
While there was surely some "Is this guy serious?" grumbling in the stands last night, we should all applaud Lewis for his effort here. This entire season is going to be a months-long tightrope walk--and that's the best case scenario--and nothing forces people to acknowledge that it's on all of us to comply with the rules quite like stopping the game until they comply.
If we want to take this a step further, I'd personally be OK with deputizing officials to assess a 15-yard delay of game flag on the home team if any fans are caught not following mask and social distancing guidelines, at any point of any game, no questions asked. Or, if that's not enough, maybe just pause the game and put the offending parties on the jumbotron until they mask up and move apart.
Is it a little heavy handed? Sure. But you can bet people would get the picture and fall in line.
After all, the season depends on it.