Saints’ situation exposes flaw in NFL’s contact tracing system

Getty Images

Before the season, the NFL boasted of a new contact-tracing technology that would keep players from getting too close together and that would make it easier to work backward to identify others who need to be tested and/or evaluated in the event a player tests positive. During the season, there’s an apparent problem with the so-called “Proximity Recording Device.”

As noted in the immediate aftermath of the news that Saints had learned late last night that fullback Michael Burton had tested positive for COVID-19, the contact-tracing process identified three people who required further testing, etc. The Saints identified on their own four others who were sitting close enough to Burton on the flight to Detroit that the Proximity Recording Device should have recorded their proximity to Burton. It should have, but it didn’t.

It’s important for the league to be willing to take a hard look at its protocols on a continuous basis, and to ask hard questions about whether outbreaks arise not from the execution of the protocols but their design. As one source recently explained it to PFT, the league seems intent on finding someone with the Titans to blame for the outbreak in the Tennessee organization, because if there was no flaw in execution of the protocols then, ipso facto, the flaw emerged from the manner in which the various rules and regulation were crafted.

The near-miss for the Saints shows that there’s a flaw in the operation of the Proximity Recording Device — a flaw that the Saints took it upon themselves to rectify by engaging in more contact tracing than the NFL’s new technology required. The question now becomes whether the league will acknowledge, and fix, the apparent problems with the Proximity Recording Device.

5 responses to “Saints’ situation exposes flaw in NFL’s contact tracing system

  1. The device is probably run by GPS, so maybe it doesn’t work on a plane. I could be way off because I have no idea about this stuff. Just a guess. From what I’ve heard of the tracking system, it’s pretty awesome.

  2. One of many flaws, put the NFL on the spot, greed folks greed not safety of health

  3. I havent read up on their contact tracing device but considering it has to be something they either wear or carry with them then it’s just as likely the protocols werent followed as those people werent carrying/wearing it as it is the Device doesnt work. Considering theres been fines for not wearing masks by coaches and they know they can be seen when their not wearing it then its foolish to think the players are complying 100% especially when out of the public eye and when they likely feel safer.

  4. Sunday Swami says:
    October 4, 2020 at 10:18 am

    I havent read up on their contact tracing device but considering it has to be something they either wear or carry with them….


    The devices they use ONLY work in NFL/Team facilities, so once they’re gone… no tracing, they’re on the honor system. So the real question in my mind is, if the CDC tells us to self quarantine for 14 day after contact with someone who’s tested positive, why aren’t the Minnesota Vikings quarantined? Besides, everyone knows the rapid tests are useless, they just give results for a point in time and it takes 4-8 days to present, this is exactly what happened at the White House last weekend.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.