COVID in the NFL and how we can move forward

COVID+in+the+NFL+and+how+we+can+move+forward

Ryan Hanken, Reporter

The NFL season is officially 4 weeks underway and Covid-19 has already affected multiple players and even some teams. Coaches even, including the Seahawks’ own Pete Carroll, have been fined for improper wearing of his mask. However, on a more serious note, week 4 was the first week we saw games postponed and canceled due to Covid: the Steelers and Titans game was officially scrapped last Thursday, October 1st , due to at least 18 Titan players and staff testing positive. The game was supposed to be played Sunday, October 4th, but now looks to be rescheduled. The very next day on Friday, October 2nd, the Patriots and Chiefs primetime Sunday night game was also pushed back to Monday night after star quarterback Cam Newton tested positive. 

The NFL has released statements since then regarding team and player safety, telling teams to try and enforce Covid protocols better and help the players stay safe while on the road. According to NFL Network, “The new NFL road rules are that players must stay in their hotel and not visit friends or family. If broken, they will be forced to quarantine and not play the game. They also might face pricey fines, up to $100k.” 

After all the week 4 games, we found out that several Titan players broke the quarantine protocol, as the group went out to a local high school to practice. To make matters worse, later that day 2 new Titan players tested positive, including rising star Corey Davis, who has had a career year so far. These new positive cases put the October Titans vs Bills game in serious jeopardy.  Titans offensive lineman Roger Saffold did respond publicly, via Twitter, to the report of their workout. Many NFL fans across the league drew questions, as to if the Titans should face punishment worse than fines. The fans suggest that the league should have the Titans forfeit the game due to their own lack of responsibility. According to ESPN, “The NFL plans to conduct a very thorough review of this situation, and will consider all possible punishments.” 

 The NFL’s struggles with the novel coronavirus worsened Wednesday, October 6th, with a positive test by New England Patriots standout cornerback and reigning defensive player of the year, Stephon Gilmore, just one day after playing the Chiefs. 

Many students at Bothell Highschool believe that the NFL is doing all they can to help protect the players and staff and to try and help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Even though players have tested positive with daily testing, the teams catch it fast and are able to quarantine players. Jimmy Tucker (22’) believes that it would be too hard to shut down the league entirely because, “They’d [the league] lose a lot of money doing so”. Everyone I spoke to doesn’t believe that the current Covid situation is anywhere close enough to warrant a league shutdown, Spencer Hogge (22’) says, “The virus is going to spread no matter what…And the virus isn’t deadly to healthy athletes” The students all have different viewpoints on what the league can improve on a change, but they all agreed that implementing a bubble for the playoffs, similar to what the NBA pulled off, would be a smart and safe decision. This would be alot harder for the NFL to pull off though, when the NBA did this they had each team have a total of 35 players and staff enter, they also made sure that before entering everyone was 100% Covid free. The problem with that is that the NFL would have to have at least 100 total players and coaches come in, not to mind the location for a few turf fields is a lot harder to find or even build, than a full sized NBA court. Jimmy Tucker also mentions, “That it [the bubble] could be tough with the amount of equipment and money that goes into it”. 

It’s safe to say that the NFL will do everything they can to keep the season going, while protecting the players and staff. There are still tons of questions to be asked about protocol changes, fines, and rescheduling. As the season progresses, the league must make decisions about a playoff bubble, I’m sure many people including Bothell’s students believe that’s the safest decision. 

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