When shutdowns due to COVID-19 began in the U.S., the NFL was lucky compared to its three major sports league counterparts.
The NHL and NBA were both mid-season and forced to put their 2020 campaigns on pause while Major League Baseball’s seasons were postponed four months while the league and players negotiated a deal for guys to play ball. The NFL, meanwhile, was smack dab in the middle of its offseason, and while the arrival of the pandemic meant the league’s rookie draft in April had to be held virtually, it certainly didn’t stop the league in its tracks the same way it did for baseball, basketball and pro hockey. Now, after months of planning, sanitizing and rethinking stadium capacities,, the tarp comes off the 2020 NFL season on Thursday as the Houston Texans take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Chiefs in Kansas City.
On Sunday night, however, Los Angeles takes the spotlight as the Rams and Chargers unveil their new home, SoFi Stadium. And while it will be the Rams christening the building with its first official live sporting event when they play the Dallas Cowboys on national television, the Chargers will be back for their home opener in Week 2 when they take on division rival Kansas City. Both teams will be sporting new uniforms to go with their new stadium, which they hope will be a fresh start after disappointing 2019 seasons. The Rams followed up their 2018 Super Bowl appearance with a 9-7 effort that fell just short of enough to get them to the playoffs in a strong NFC West, and this year they’ll have to try and claw their way back to the postseason without All-Pro running back Todd Gurley, who was released during the offseason and signed with Atlanta. The Chargers weren’t able to duplicate their playoff berth from a year earlier either, going 5-11 and finishing last in the AFC West. And for the first time since 2006, the starting quarterback won’t be a guy named Philip Rivers, who became a free agent after last season and signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
Today on AirTalk, we’ll preview the 2020 NFL season, talk about what football will look like during COVID-19, and tell you what you need to know to cheer on L.A. football this year.