False positives illustrate the challenges the NFL may face

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Whether or not it’s a job best suited for a group that includes a guy who thought Lamar Jackson should play receiver, Sunday’s sudden influx of false COVID-19 positives becomes a concrete example of the challenges the outside advisory committee and Commissioner Roger Goodell will confront when the regular season begins.

What if that had happened three Sundays from now, instead of this Sunday? It would have created chaos, with nine games due to begin at 1:00 p.m. ET. And it would have required the Commissioner, with the advice of the outside advisory committee that will be assisting him with competitive issues arising from the pandemic, to figure something out. Quickly.

The good news, if there is any, comes from the immense flexibility that the league will have to shift starting dates and times of games, given that lack of fan concerns and potential scheduling conflicts. Although it’s ideal for Sunday games to be played on Sunday, they could (in theory) be moved to Monday. Or kickoff could be delayed from Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET to 4:00 p.m. ET to 8:00 p.m. ET.

Of course, delaying games by a day would create an issue for teams that opt for same-day travel. If the game is delayed by a day, do they go home and come back? Or do they try to find a hotel that has enough vacancies to absorb the entire operation?

Like everything else related to this pandemic, every answer leads to more questions. Today’s news highlights one of the biggest potential questions that could land on the Commissioner’s desk on any given Sunday. And the process of resolving it will create a potential avalanche of new questions. And all questions will have to be identified and answered quickly.