Advisory committee will address competitive issues, not medical issues


Some have raised questions regarding the outside advisory committee that will assist the Commissioner on COVID-19 issues. The most common concern comes from the absence of doctors or epidemiologists from the group.

But here’s the thing to remember: The former players, coaches, and General Managers won’t be advising the Commissioner on medical issues. They’ll be advising him on competitive issues, from whether a given game should proceed to the procedures for determining playoff positioning if some teams play fewer than 16 games to anything else that could come up as pro football pushes forward in a pandemic.

The eight-person group, consisting of Champ Bailey, Isaac Bruce, Charley Casserly, Tom Coughlin, Marvin Lewis, Troy Polamalu, Bill Polian, and Rick Smith, will serve in the same capacity that the Competition Committee would have served, but for the obvious conflicts of interest that make it impossible to be truly objective regarding decisions that will directly or indirectly affect their teams.

Of course, some of the members of the advisory committee will be susceptible to biases and prejudices based on their years in the league. The Commissioner surely is aware of those potential tentacles; for example, any opinions Bill Polian may have about competitive issues involving the Patriots may be more than a little tainted by his attitude toward the franchise. And if Tom Coughlin is chiming in on matters that impact the Jaguars, any lingering disappointment regarding the way he was treated on the way out the door could keep him from being truly objective.

The bigger concern is the absence of clear standards aimed at ensuring consistency. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Competition Committee already has weighed in on various hypothetical situations that could emerge during the season, in any effort to guide the Commissioner and the advisory committee.

Still, not every possible situation can be anticipated. As the Commissioner, with input from the advisory committee, addresses individual situations on a case-by-case basis, it will be critical for a clear sense to emerge that all teams are receiving the same treatment and consideration.