The last year has been a challenging one for everyone in the country, and the world, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And the NFL has definitely faced their share of challenges.
But with Super Bowl LV on the doorstep, the league made it through the season without missing a game, something NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said took 'extraordinary collective effort' during his annual Super Bowl press conference.
"This was an extraordinary collective effort," said Goodell. "There are so many people that had to work together to get this done. There were doubters. There were people that didn't believe we could do it. We had a lot of unknowns ourselves. We believed that staying on schedule, getting 256 games done, with avoiding the asterisks, we were able to do that. The players, coaches and clubs that did so much to implement those protocols, and the intensive protocols, and adapt throughout the season. That is the big thing for us, we had to adapt at every stage, just like everybody else in this society.
"This was a year where we were all challenged, we all had to adapt. We had to find innovative solutions. I couldn't be prouder that the NFLPA and NFL worked together in unprecedented fashion to be able to find those solutions together. The sacrifices our players and coaches made were extraordinary."
Adapting and finding solutions is something the NFL definitely did, moving the vast majority of the offseason to a virtual platform, starting with the 2020 NFL Draft. After that OTAs and minicamps were virtual, with players learning from computers rather than sitting in a meeting room and then heading to the field.
While Goodell did say it was too early to predict how everything will play out heading into 2021, he did give a strong indication that the virtual side of things will remain in place.
"We anticipate a lot of things that we did last year with respect to training camps, with respect to the offseason," said Goodell when asked about the virtual approach. "Virtual is going to be part of our life for the long-term. I think we learned, and the coaches learned, the players learned, that it was actually a very positive way to install offenses and to work in the offseason. I think we will see more of that for sure.
"But I also believe that our coaches feel strongly, and we'll talk about this with the union, that there's value in training camp. There's value in practices, there's value in having preseason games where you can develop young players and give them the opportunity to get better as football players. The veterans may not need that as much. So those are the types of things I think we'll bounce as we come into the offseason and I'm sure we'll come up with solutions for that."