On Saturday, the Saints flew to Detroit. Once they arrived, they embarked on the usual routine that unfolds the night before a game. Then, things changed.
At roughly 10:40 p.m. ET, the Saints learned that fullback Michael Burton had tested positive for COVID-19. The news threw the Saints’ night-before-game ritual into an understandable tizzy.
It’s unclear why the Saints got the new of Burton’s positive at 10:40 p.m. ET; the off-site PCR test results usually arrive the morning after sample collection. It’s also unclear why Burton generated a false positive, something that rarely if ever have happened in the NHL/NBA bubbles. Here’s what is clear: The news forced the Saints to scramble to re-test Burton and to test others who had been in proximity to him. Saints management spent time last into the evening/early into the morning working on and worrying about the issue, instead of preparing for the game and/or sleeping. The Saints players who were tested last night had to worry about whether they’d learn they have the virus, instead of focusing on the task at hand.
Meanwhile, everyone else in the organization who had made the trip on the plane with Burton had to wonder whether the rabbit hole eventually could go deep enough to result in them getting the virus and potentially getting sick, or worse.
On one hand, it’s one of the conveniences and inequities that flow from playing pro football in a pandemic. On the other hand, it won’t be any easier for the 1-2 Saints to get a much needed win against the Lions. And as to those who have wagered their hard-earned money on the game, the Saints giving four points suddenly doesn’t look so good.