The Unknown

The unknown.

There may be nothing worse than the fear of the unknown when it comes to serious life-threatening situations.

When it involves the unknown in something like the world of sports, there is no fear. Only speculation. Lots of it.

It’s never-ending, and often borders on the ridiculous. There is no limit. It’s almost comical.

We deal with both kinds this week.

First the serious kind. Unless we’ve been hiding in a cave, we are all fully aware of the coronavirus story.

This column is not about to embark on the details in which we are fully aware.

Details that stop short of answering all the questions or forecasting the future. 

The unknown that carries with it, fear. Fear, to varying degrees, because we simply don’t know.

Every time there is a report of a new outbreak anywhere in the world, but especially in the U.S., there is an unsettling feeling that won’t go away.

We won’t even get into the alarming influence it’s had on the business world.

You cannot tell someone who’s been affected by the virus in any level not to overly worry.

You cannot tell people that in the big picture, the virus may not be different than any virus we’ve known, even though it appears that situation is likely.

But like everything else in life, it will pass.

It may be hard to fathom at this point, but that’s my belief.

In the meantime, group gatherings are being cancelled all over the globe.

In the relative small pastime called sports, the BNP Paribas Tennis Open set to begin shortly in Indian Wells, California was cancelled. The tournament, the second-biggest in this country to the U.S. Open, opened the door for other events in other sports to follow suit.

The NBA had already introduced the possibility of games played without fan attendance.

That brought an outcry from the league’s number one attraction, LeBron James, to declare he would refuse to play without fans in the arena. 

Personally, I believe this issue is not a matter of individual preference, but following the orders of the league, which is in charge of all teams and all players. 

There had been rumors that the possibility of the the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, otherwise known as March Madness, might be held without fan attendance as well. But as of this writing, the word from the NCAA was emphatic that fans would be permitted to attend the tournament at all 14 sites from the First Four in Dayton, through the Final Four in Atlanta.

It’s interesting to note that TV revenue from major sports events would not be affected if the games were played without fans.

Frankly, without the presence of thousands of fans in a stadium or arena, the actual playing of games loses everything.

It’s like watching a basketball team practice in an empty gym, which I have done countless times.

There is no emotion or reaction. That’s what makes sports so exciting and sometimes electrifying.

Without the fans, the games are hollow.

Basketball without fans


Soccer without fans


Nevertheless, sports organizations, like bu


sinesses, have to make the difficult decision on which path to follow.

Business as usual, with the theory that the long-term threat of the virus will abate. 

Or better-safe-than-sorry. In other words, we’re not taking any chances.

In some respects you look at the prospects of March Madness, for example, going on as planned, with fans filling the seats.

And if it comes to pass with no health problems as a result, it just might allow folks to exhale and come to the realization that life just might return to normalcy. 

We’ll see.

On the topic of the unknown, where the subject is not at all serious, how about Tom Brady?

Discussing the future of the veteran Patriots quarterback, the rumor and innuendo regarding where he will play in 2020 has reached ridiculous heights.

Instead of letting the story play out, there have been a string of reports from people who have no clue of Brady’s destination.

Here are the reports:

Brady talked on the phone with head coach Bill Belichick and their talk was not productive.

Who else was on the call? How do we know it was not productive? What did they think was going to come of one phone call?

And how do we really know there was a conversation to begin with?

I love people who relate conversations on phone calls.

Sound familiar?

Brady and receiver Julian Edelman attend a Syracuse basketball game at the Carrier Dome.

Edelman mouths the fact Brady isn’t going anywhere. He’ll remain with the Patriots.

But Edelman and Brady are seen in a “FaceTime” talk with Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel.

FaceTime with Mike Vrabel


Oh, so Brady is headed to the Titans, (something I personally feel, if the QB leaves New England).

How about this? Tom Brady will be traded to the San Francisco 49ers for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo was dealt from the Patriots to the 49ers in 2017. He led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, only to lose to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the final seven minutes of the game.

It makes sense doesn’t it? Brady goes to the team he followed growing up in Northern California, and the 49ers get a quarterback who has won six Super Bowls and will finally put the Niners over the top.

Give me a break!

Tom Brady will be 43 in August. There is nothing written in stone that says wherever Brady plays, that team will go all the way and win a championship. And if not, what next? How many years does Tom Brady have as an effective QB?

Jimmy Garoppolo is 28, and came awfully close in Miami. 

Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady


What’s the smart move for San Francisco?  I know their GM John Lynch. He’s beyond smart.

If I’m the Patriots I might make that move in a minute. Getting Garoppolo back would be a dream.

I know it’s difficult to face the unknown without delving into speculation.

It’s too easy to let time take over and wait for actual developments to unfold.

We will all know sooner than later the landing spot for Tom Brady.

It’s amazing that there’s seemingly more NFL talk now, in March, than there was during the season.

All because of one player. He’s worth the attention, no question. But all we’re witnessing is unfounded speculation.

Can I call it Fake News?

Except for Patriots fans, it’s a trivial matter. We can enjoy it, and joke about it.

Not like the sobering coronavirus story. Where that unknown dominates our thoughts.