Sean McDermott was in the same place as most football fans last night: in front of a TV.
He only watched a couple quarters from the Chiefs and the Texans, but it was enough to provide a couple of helpful perspectives on the league’s social justice movement and how pro football is surviving in the midst of a global pandemic.
McDermott thought the moment of unity before the game was “great to see”. He was happy that coaches were standing next to their players and considered the gesture “well thought out”.
He also pointed out that, in the ultra competitive NFL, it was no small thing.
“You spend all week trying to beat each other,” McDermott said. “To do that, just from a mental shift standpoint, is not easy.”
As of Friday morning, the Bills did not have any plans for a social justice gesture of their own before the season opener against the Jets. McDermott complimented his players and the organization for the actions they are already taking. That includes helping to provide internet access for Buffalo school children, increasing awareness regarding the census and promoting voter registration.
There is still a chance the Bills may also have a demonstration of their own Sunday.
“We’ve had these critical conversations over the course of a couple of weeks,” McDermott said. “I usually meet with the captains every week in the day or two leading up to the game. Nothing at this point, but that does not mean it’s going to stay that way.”
For weeks, McDermott has had more than enough to occupy his attention in keeping his team safe and following a host of brand new league rules to prevent any issues with Covid-19. Thursday was the first chance to poke his head up and check in elsewhere.
“It was interesting… to turn on another team and see, ‘ok, everyone is doing it like we’re doing it’,” McDermott said. “It’s more solidifying things. Interesting to see how different parts of the world are living.”
McDermott chuckled after that last sentence, but it was fairly emblematic of what many football fans felt watching football last night. A short bit of happiness and relief that everyone made it this far.
“It was good to get back to some normalcy, watching football on TV,” McDermott said. “This is such a popular sport in our country. Just refreshing and a great thing for the mental health around our country.”
The Bills get their chance to be on the TV and make things better Sunday.