NFL Season COVID-19 Problems


Brandon Chan, Staff Writer

In July, the National Football League (NFL) announced that their season will continue as normal; there will be a regular season with 16 games and the usual exciting playoffs. Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, was optimistic that the NFL would be able to conduct a safe season for their teams and use their newfound COVID-19 research to benefit other business sectors.

However, six weeks into this NFL season and there have been multiple COVID-19 outbreaks. For instance, the Tennessee Titans were one of the teams with multiple players testing for COVID-19. It was alleged that their head coach, Mike Vrabel, did not set strict mask guidelines in their facilities, which caused 15 players to be infected and lasted for roughly two weeks. For context, an NFL roster has 53 spots, so that means a little over a quarter of the team had COVID-19. Not ideal whatsoever.

“We expect to have positive cases. We’ve been unbelievably fortunate at this point to have very few. But given how endemic this disease is in the population and given how easy it is to transmit, we expect we are going to have positive cases,” Dr. Allen Sills said, discussing the Tennessee Titans COVID-19 outbreak.

“Protocol violations that result in virus spread requiring adjustments to the schedule or otherwise impacting other teams will result in additional financial and competitive discipline including the adjustment or loss of draft choices or even the forfeit of a game,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated.
Because the Tennessee Titans outbreak was pervasive, the NFL was thinking of forcing them to forfeit their games and lose some draft picks; however, the only punishment will most likely only be a fine.

On Oct. 1, the NFL had to postpone the Tennessee Titans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game because of the outbreak. This game is going to be played in Week 7 instead. New England’s game against the Denver Broncos in Week 5 was moved to Week 6. This creates a domino effect, as the Denver Broncos original Week 6 game against the Miami Dolphins was also postponed. Furthermore, several games have been moved to Monday or Tuesday, giving fans football on four of the seven days (Thursday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday).

Additionally, besides the Tennessee Titans, there have been many notable players who have tested positive, including New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, New England Patriots cornerback and last year’s Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, and Atlanta Falcons first round pick cornerback A.J. Terrell.

For the sake of the players, coaches, and executives all across the NFL, I really hope this league gets its act together to prevent this virus from spreading further. Health should and always will be the number one priority; football is just a game.


Photo courtesy of WSJ.COM