October 8, 2020

Journey to Tampa hits crossroads as Covid-19 threatens NFL season

Morning, where the NFL is yet again dealing with more COVID positives. While only a trickle, even that is too much for the dam the NFL has set up to protect its season.  

The latest: New England’s Stephon Gilmore, who played in Monday night’s game against the Chiefs, has tested positive. Meanwhile, some players on the Titans, whose game last Sunday was postponed because of their own mini-outbreak, reportedly broke quarantine to work out together away from the team facility

Now they have at least two more positives, putting their Week 5 game against the Bills in jeopardy and calling into question how the NFL is going to make it to Super Bowl LV in February. 

Running through the season with zero positives was always an impossibility, so if postponement is the response to every outbreak (no matter how big or small) until the incubation period expires, at some point the league is going to run out of open dates to fit it all in. 

That, or impose forfeitures, which Roger Goodell threatened in a league-wide memo. 

This is the zero-tolerance corner the NFL has backed itself into. It can fine coaches for not wearing masks and hand the Titans their first loss of the season via forfeit, but is that going to keep the virus out of the league? Doubtful. 

Four weeks in, the NFL now finds itself at a crossroads: Is it going to shut down activity with every positive test, or is it going to push on? 

The decision could very well determine if they get to the Super Bowl or not.

By Jay Hart

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