Boston College elected to opt out of playing a bowl game this season, meaning the football season is complete for the Eagles. “This was a team decision”, Jeff Hafley and Pat Kraft noted, and it “in no way diminishes what they team accomplished this season”. Hafley called the team leadership council together sensing the team’s pulse, and ultimately the decision to go home was made as a BC family.
Both AD Pat Kraft and Coach Hafley praised the level of sacrifice these players have made, and they are absolutely right. The players are priority #1, and what they’ve accomplished this season is astounding. BC is one of a handful of programs not to register a COVID case the entire year. That’s because of the measures they took and the level of seriousness they addressed the situation with, and what each and everyone sacrificed. The Eagles were held to stringent measures to ensure safety, and kept a routine. That level of sacrifice and playing every game takes a huge “emotional, mental, and physical” toll.
Kraft made note of how quickly this decision needed to be. They don’t know what’s going to happen by the end of the month. If you choose to practice for the next three weeks in preparation for a bowl game, everyone misses the holidays with their families. Then if the game is canceled — which we have quite a history with— that would be devastating, and it didn’t sit right for him. The typical bowl game fanfare was unlikely as well, making it increasingly difficult for families to even attend. Hafley doubled down on this, explaining that come January, they’re going to have be right back to work. That was too much uncertainty and the players deserved better.
Hafley has no regrets and knows this was the right decision. When he called on Max Richardson to tell the team, he noted a “an uproar of excitement” when they learned they were going home to see their families. He could tell how tired everyone was, and admittedly how exhausted he was as well.
Max Richardson talked about the closure of the college football careers for the seniors. Their last game was a tough outing at Virginia, but it the abrupt ending changes nothing. Back in June, they weren’t sure there would be a season to begin. Throughout the season, they all realized “how precious each moment was,” and the appreciation for what they have was closure enough. Alec Lindstrom discussed the mental exhaustion players were feeling, especially young players and those from further away. “You could tell guys missed their family, especially this time,” he said while admitting they still grew much closer as a team.
Max also lauded Hafley for how open and honest he was with players throughout the season — and there were plenty of tough conversations. “It’s nice to be able to connect with our head coach,” and explained how he would always tell them to talk to him as if he wasn’t the head coach for these moments. “It was genuine,” and it helped Hafley understand the team’s needs.
The Eagles are the first bowl-eligible program to publicly make this announcement, with several teams certain to join them. Not to mention several bowl games have already been cancelled.
BC will also still look for ways to reward the players, particularly the seniors. “What these seniors have done, they’ve laid the foundation of what is to come.”