NBC Sports’ Football Week in America Kicks Off Tonight at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN With First-Ever NBC Sunday Night Football Game, Featuring the Manning Brothers Meeting for the First Time
“This year’s a lot different than any year scouts and GMs have had, obviously, with all the challenges. But this time of year, what you really need is time…I’m really getting a lot done.” – 49ers GM John Lynch on how teams are preparing for the draft
“The best scouts in the NFL will be the MVPs of the draft this year.” – King on the importance of scouting in this year’s draft
“In light of the question marks about the start of this year, the backloading of division games and a May schedule release seem likely.” – King on how the coronavirus may affect NFL schedule planning
“We’ve sold out 144 straight games at State Farm Stadium. But this is our most important sellout.” – Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwell on the team’s upcoming blood drive
ProFootballTalk.com Provides the Latest Free Agency News and Updates; Florio & Simms on PFT Live Weekdays at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN
STAMFORD, Conn. – March 30, 2020 – Peter King discusses the impact of coronavirus on daily life in the NFL and potential plans surrounding the 2020 NFL Draft in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King speaks with 49ers GM John Lynch, Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, Falcons owner Arthur Blank and former Patriots, Chiefs and Falcons executive Scott Pioli about how teams are adjusting to the virus’ impact.
Also this week, NBC Sports kicks off Football Week in America beginning tonight, reliving memorable NBC Sunday Night Football games and performances, with two primetime SNF games beginning at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Tonight’s matchups include the first-ever SNF game, featuring Peyton and Eli Manning meeting for the first time (7 p.m. ET), and Tom Brady and the Patriots staging a huge 2013 comeback against Peyton and the Broncos (9:30 p.m. ET). For more information, click here.
Additionally, ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest free agency news and NFL insider Mike Florio and analyst Chris Simms provide offseason and free agency updates on PFT Live.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
CORONAVIRUS IMPACT ON DAILY LIFE IN THE NFL
King: “It’s a bit fruitless these days to try to predict what’s going to happen…The NFL, like all of society, is at the whim of a virus.”
49ers GM John Lynch to King on adjusting scouting plans: “This year’s a lot different than any year scouts and GMs have had, obviously, with all the challenges. But this time of year, what you really need is time…I’m really getting a lot done.”
King on the virus’ impact on prospects: “Likely a second/third-round pick in the April draft, (Cal safety Ashtyn) Davis couldn’t work out at the combine because of December groin surgery…Now Davis is training in Santa Ana, Calif., doing pushups and TRX workouts in his nondescript apartment.”
Davis to King on this year’s Draft process: “I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t frustrated. But I refuse to come out of this sort of quarantine a downgraded version of myself.”
King on the Cardinals hosting a blood drive at State Farm Stadium: “Cardinals principal owner Michael Bidwill made a $1-million donation to Arizona COVID-19 relief, but he wanted his organization to do more. He heard about the desperation for blood. With the space in the wide main concourse at State Farm Stadium, Bidwill figured that would take care of the social distance part of it.”
Bidwill to King: “We’ll spread the donor spaces around the concourse, so no one will be close, and we’ll have everyone exit through a different gate to limit contact…We’ve sold out 144 straight games at State Farm Stadium. But this is our most important sellout.”
2020 NFL DRAFT
King: “The other day, I was told that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could kick off the 2020 NFL Draft in 24 days from a remote-controlled camera in his home in Bronxville, N.Y…But, a source with knowledge of draft-logistics discussions told me, that would be a ‘worst-case scenario.’ Sounds like a ‘best-case scenario’ to me.”
NFL Network host Rich Eisen to King on the idea: “What better way to communicate the necessity to stay inside to stop the spread of the coronavirus than the commissioner of the NFL announcing the picks, alone, from his house in New York?”
King on potential Draft presentation plans: “The NFL will send out about 50 portable camera kits with microphones to top prospects and college coaches, with better-than-FaceTime quality, so NFL draft coverage will be able to bring in, say, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow from the family home outside Athens, Ohio, when/if he’s the first pick of the Bengals.”
King on the draft itself: “The first two or three rounds shouldn’t be upset all that much because of the scouting changes…But it’s the later rounds, as NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said in this space last week, that could see teams trying to hit the safe singles instead of the risky triples.”
Former Patriots, Chiefs and Falcons executive Scott Pioli on which teams will succeed in this year’s Draft: “Teams that are focused and worked long and hard at the Senior Bowl and the all-star games and the scouting combine. Teams that know how to scout. Teams that have a strong system in place.”
Pioli on the importance on scouting: “In general, the good franchises rely on scouts for success in rounds five, six and seven…Too many people are complaining about what isn’t possible in the draft process this year. The rules are the same for everybody.”
King on scouting: “The best scouts in the NFL will be the MVPs of the draft this year.”
King on new scouting techniques: “At least one team is quietly using GPS data from college teams to estimate the 40 times and other movement measurables from players who didn’t work at the combine. That’s a smart way to get an edge.”
OFFSEASON ACTIVITIES & SPRING MEETINGS
King: “I can’t imagine offseason programs existing in any sort of together way. More likely, teams could have classroom setting for playbook learning, but conditioning and training likely will have to be lonely pursuits through the spring.”
Falcons owner Arthur Blank to King: “I think the NFL’s going to be fine. I don’t mean it won’t be changed. It is being changed now. How it’ll impact things like training camp, sooner than that, the OTAs…Training camps will probably be affected in some way.”
Blank on if he thinks there will be a 16-game regular season: “If I had to speculate now, and I use the word speculate because that’s really all it is, I would say yes. Only because it’s so far away from where we are today…But I think by September, my hope is by the time the regular season starts, that we’ll be able to bring people together in some form or fashion in a safe manner and play.”
King on the NFL Spring Meetings: “This was supposed to be the week of the annual NFL Spring Meetings. Instead of slumming at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla., owners and club officials will meet, virtually.”
King on discussions about the new playoff format: “This season, it’s likely there will be three wild-card games on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, and three on Sunday, Jan. 10…I would expect a possible Monday night wild-card game to come up in future years.”
King on the schedule release: “In light of the question marks about the start of this year, the backloading of division games and a May schedule release seem likely.”
One NFL GM to King on why the free agent market may have dried up: “Some owners have to be concerned there might not be football, or it might be a shortened season, and their income could be drastically affected. It’s just uncertainty, and when there’s uncertainty, some owners don’t want to commit the money they usually do.”
King on Tom Brady’s impact on the Buccaneers: “I think the first signing that illustrates how much a player wanted to play with Tom Brady was Ndamukong Suh’s one-year, $8-million deal with the Bucs. One team talking with Suh believes playing with Brady was the tipping point in Tampa Bay’s favor.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- Football Week in America: Mike Tirico, who will introduce each night’s matchup on NBCSN, chats with New Orleans QB Drew Brees about his $5 million coronavirus-related donations to support the New Orleans community. Click here to view their discussion.
- PFT Live: Mike Florio and Chris Simms provide updates on NFL free agency and react to the NFL Draft staying on schedule for the end of April.
- The Simms Unbuttoned podcast is joined by Paul Burmeister to preview this year’s NFL Draft wide receiver class.
- The Rotoworld Football Podcast, with Josh Norris, John Daigle, and Ian Hartitz, continues to discuss how free agency moves will impact teams and players in 2020.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.