April 14th, 2021

So all of a sudden NFL players are scared of The Sickness?

This seems like a hollow motivation for getting out of voluntary workouts.

As Bucs fans know, Tampa Bay players have decided to sit out — boycott, if you prefer — voluntary offseason workouts (OTAs) because they are afraid of The Sickness. They joined the Broncos and Seahawks yesterday. Earlier this morning, the Lions jumped on the growing bandwagon, too.

This comes despite millions of Americans getting vaccinated, including Floridians. As far as Joe knows, even players and their families likely already have taken the needle (twice). Even NFL strongman Roger Goodell issued a proclamation yesterday that NFL employees either get vaccinated or they cannot have any direct contact with players.

The NFL has likely never been safer. In fact, the relative escape the NFL had with The Sickness last season made the NFL the model workplace for how to go about business in the middle of a pandemic.

Adapt, adjust and overcome rather than cower.

So with the NFL likely the safest workplace in America short of a hospital or doctor’s office, what’s going on? Well, this sure smells like a powerplay by the NFLPA. Consider what Lindsay Jones has in The Athletic about how the NFL survived without voluntary in-person workouts and no preseason games last year.

What no one knew a year ago, or even seven months ago, is how that drastically altered offseason and the lack of on-field work in the spring would impact the quality of play in the fall. The answer? Not much. Scoring was up across the league, and games were competitive. Overall, injuries and penalties were down. For fans watching at home, scenes of empty stadiums were about the only noticeable difference from the pre-pandemic product.

And there you have it. Without voluntary spring workouts and the worthless preseason games in the summer, both injuries and penalties were down. Of course, this is the lone sample size; last year was the first and only season since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to not have preseason games.

Still, those numbers are encouraging for right-thinking Americans.

And this is what this powerplay is all about. It’s a squeeze tactic to get the NFL to cut or eliminate voluntary in-person spring workouts. Joe could dream that this is also a stiff-arm move to get rid of preseason games, but since those are likely written into the new TV contracts, that’s probably a hopeless dream.

Now Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians has railed how the lack of in-person workouts has hurt the development of younger players and claims veterans don’t want these workouts because it saves jobs. Joe fully understands what Arians is saying and probably right. But when he just won a Super Bowl with significant impact from two rookies who never had offseason in-person workouts or preseason games, Arians’ case turns flimsy.

The simple answer? The NFL and NFLPA should agree that anyone not on a rookie contract, who is returning to the same team, is not permitted to be on NFL premises at the same time OTAs are held unless it is for rehab purposes (which is what Jason Pierre-Paul is currently doing).

In fact, NFLPA president JC Tretter demands an end to all offseason workouts, voluntary and mandatory.

Remember, the boycotts, in theory, are over voluntary workouts.

Joe has nothing against this boycott. The way Joe sees it, since the Bucs were playing in February, every little bit of extra rest will benefit the team in December and into January, especially through the inaugural 17-game season.

25 Responses to “Powerplay”

  1. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Only reason bucs are boycotting is that Tom Brady is currently unavailable with his knee issues; if Brady was good to go so would the bucs

  2. John Sinclear Says:

    Opting out of the OTA’s sure makes a statement as to the commitment of the team to “Go for two” doesn’t it?

  3. Cobraboy Says:

    Veterans love no OTAs because it makes a took taking his job less likely. And vets are the NFLPA.

  4. Mike Edwards Says:

    Lazy, overpaid, prima donna athletes showing their true colors for all to see. And they call themselves professional athletes. Sigh.

  5. All lives matter Says:

    After all they did just win a Super Bowl ..they want more time off

  6. BA4President Says:

    This is all going to crumble when undrafted free agents start showing up and making their cases for replacing higher-paid veterans at the back of the 53 man roster.

    The starters don’t want to do the workouts, and already aren’t forced to, but they are scared of being singled out as one of the only players not there.

  7. BA4President Says:

    Alternative headline: “Powerless Play”

  8. Godlovesbucs Says:

    As long as there is no dip in production what does it matter? Remember, if the players look like junk they will get cut. No player wants to get cut. Some will do bare minimum and always skirt the line of unemployment (like many in the normal workforce) and others will take every opportunity to be the best they can be. Forcing voluntary workouts doent give someone work ethic, and not having them doesnt turn all of the team into slobs either.

  9. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Sensible Joe.

  10. Bucfan81 Says:

    Who cares the Vets on this team know how to be prepared for the season. Not really worried about this at all. As long as everyone shows up during the summer for Training camp then this a non issue.

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    “Adapt, adjust and overcome rather than cower.”

    It sucks that so much of the U.S. (and world for that matter) took the exact opposite approach towards dealing with ‘the sickness’…..

    Super glad to live in a state where common sense was applied to most decisions regarding Covid. Also that our Governor was very conscious of safeguarding our collective right to Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness throughout the ‘pandemic’….

    “Those who would sacrifice essential Liberty for temporary security deserve neither” – Benjamin Franklin

  12. Drunkinybor Says:

    Who speaks for all the players on the roster? What if somebody wants to go. What about workout bonuses and development for the pup’s? Seems like a win win for the Vets.

  13. Swampbuc Says:

    If they’re power playing, they need to power play for upgraded medical insurance for old veterans (and current and future players of course) and also implement a proper IRA/401k program with matching. Too many ex players wind up destitute for the money that’s being paid to them up front.

    I’m ok with this as long as the Bucs don’t get slack.

  14. Tackleblockwin Says:

    For me, the only concern is that rookies, and second year players will miss out on a lot.

  15. danr Says:

    this will be a huge backfire for the union IMO.

    Im all for teachers, football players and other weak unions to exercise all of their collectively bargained right.

    This was just a bad move, as they did not get 100% buy in ahead of time. it will only accentuate how weak the players union is vs the owners.

    time to kill the union and file anti-trust suits vs the NFL. no more salary cap, and let players individually negotiate their own contracts.

  16. danr Says:

    ALso this strategic of Tommy, if we can pressure other teams to boycott, then we get the advantage. Tommy-led workouts are better than other teams off site workouts, by a lot.

  17. windbaggery Says:


    withdraw from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest.

    This isn’t a boycott. It’s not punishment or protest. Until the vaccines are rolled out, avoiding OPTIONAL social contact is still preferred practice in the interest of community health.

    For the naysayers, a reminder: 560+K dead in the US, which is 1 out of every 700 Americans.

  18. windbaggery Says:

    Jeezus, really. The whole thread removed because the conspiracy clowns got called out?

  19. Steven007 Says:

    Windy, you got it…

  20. danr Says:

    Joe from what i can tell with his ‘antifa mask’ comments seems to at least prefer to give the conspiracy people a place to fester, im surprised something got removed.

    Unless it was because they were being owned.

  21. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Veterans do not need these OTA’s. The Bucs played more games than any other team in the league save for Kansas City. These guys need the rest and some time away from the field to reboot.

    As for young players getting hosed if OTA’s are eliminated, simply write it into the contract. OTA’s for 2nd year and under players only.

  22. Buczilla Says:

    I have zero issues with players skipping voluntary workouts and I’d be doing the same thing. Any evidence out there points to it being a good thing. I know people that would have had an issue with it, but they have already given up on the nfl, so no harm, no foul.

    I’ll have an issue if mandatory workouts start being skipped, but until then, I I don’t care.

  23. Howard Cosell Says:

    So all of a sudden NFL players are scared of The Sickness?

    This seems like a hollow motivation for getting out of voluntary workouts.

    Thanks Joe!
    You are a breath of journalistic fresh air.
    I hope the Peoples Republic doesn’t send an interrogator
    to JBF World HQ

  24. Dan Williamson Says:

    They are just lazy.

  25. Hodad Says:

    Every athlete from woman’s college softball, to every major sports league should be fully vaccinated by now. In Fl all age groups are able to get it, there’s no excuse. The leagues should be setting an example by promoting vaccinations so we can get back to filling stadiums, and returning to normal.