Coaches become increasingly frustrated with league’s approach to COVID-19

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As the NFL continues to struggle with the containment of COVID-19 in team facilities, NFL coaches continue to become more and more frustrated by the league’s approach.

Per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, there’s a growing belief in the coaching community that the league is more concerned about blaming teams for outbreaks than preventing outbreaks from happening.

As one source explained it to PFT, Monday’s league-wide conference call included a presentation from NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills. He emphasized during the call that infections are inevitable but that if teams follow all protocols the infections will be contained. When the possibility of a team-by-team or regional bubble was mentioned, Sills argued that the league’s protocols, if followed, are superior to a bubble.

Most would disagree with that. Although Sills pointed out that pathways to infection would be created via housekeeping, janitorial, maintenance, and food-service staff, neither the NBA nor the NHL had outbreaks under identical circumstances. Moreover, severely limiting the off-duty movement of all players, coaches, and essential personnel would avoid the reality that everyone who leaves the facility every night has a unique set of facts and circumstances that could result in exposure to the virus via airborne transmission, which seems to be the most prominent way to catch it.

Some suspect that the league isn’t pushing a bubble approach because: (1) the NFL Players Association refuses to agree to it; and (2) the NFL doesn’t want to have to make the concession needed to secure the union’s agreement. Although the NFLPA should want to put players in a bubble in order to avoid the loss of game checks resulting from games that are canceled and not rescheduled, the union quite possibly believes that the league will do whatever it has to do to get the games played.

Some coaches believe that, indeed, the league will do whatever it has to do to get the games played — to the point that health and safety of players and coaches is taking a backseat to playing the games. They think that the league wants to be able to say, in the event someone gets sick or worse, that the problem wasn’t the protocols but the failure of one or more teams to follow them.

Coaches still haven’t universally accepted that proposition. Like a defense that isn’t performing well, coaches wonder whether the current struggles result from bad players or a bad plan. The league, obviously, believes its plan is fine. Some coaches have real questions about that.

However it plays out, some coaches believe that the league’s knee-jerk reaction to any outbreak will be to blame the team, fine the team mercilessly, and at all times claim that the league has zero responsibility for the spread of the virus in any team facility or during any game.

34 responses to “Coaches become increasingly frustrated with league’s approach to COVID-19

  1. Over the years, I’ve become less and less of a fan of the NFLPA. Not sure if that is due to De Smith’s leadership, their complete lack of empathy for retired players, or the constant contradiction when they say they advocate for their players health while appealing a vicious unsportsmanlike conduct suspension.

    But 2020 is not the time for urinating contests.

  2. So basically all they have to do is be prisoners, and their recess is practice and games. Sounds like they’re livin life!

  3. I predict that the NFL will have a few flat tires before the wheels finally go flying off the wagon and the season comes to a crashing halt.

  4. If this is really the coaches’ view, it makes no sense. Say that the league is more interested in blaming coaches, when the coaches themselves don’t appear to be interested in following feasible protocols, is nonsense.

    They want accountability from their players. They shouldn’t have a problem being held accountable, or holding each other accountable.

  5. polandlaker says:
    October 7, 2020 at 11:13 am
    So basically all they have to do is be prisoners, and their recess is practice and games. Sounds like they’re livin life!
    ————————————————————————————–
    Being housed in a high end hotel with first class treatment for anything you need for a few months while being paid millions is considered being a prisoner by you is ridiculous .

  6. The NFL have every right to blame coaches as they can’t seem to keep their masks on ( that they agreed to wear ) during games. I imagine that they all remove their masks in the locker room and at team facilities.

  7. Hockey and basketball didn’t seem to have this problem, so maybe the bubble isn’t a bad idea. Most fans aren’t allowed in venues anyway, so why bother having travel to different stadiums every week? The NFL’s big gaffe was thinking that the world would be behaving normally by September. That’s just hubris.

  8. Goodell is such a moron. He should have demanded a bubble and cited the nba and nhl success.

    Instead, he thinks he is superior and to the virus and will likely now start to cheat the Pats again with his lunacy.

  9. Problem is the NFL has zero consistency on any of their Covid measures which makes the whole thing come across as a joke. They’re a full-contact sport that decided for some reason that players wouldn’t be required to wear any sort of face coverings either in games or on the sidelines but that the coaches WOULD be in masks. And you can literally tackle a guy on the last play of the game and help him up but then a second later when the final whistle blows it’s a violation to shake the guy’s hand because the virus apparently is dormant during the game but turns back on again once it is over.

    And when infections occur there is some point between a few positive tests and a lot of positive tests where they’ll postpone a game but nobody knows where exactly that line is and the league seems happy to just make things up along the way.

  10. touchback6 says: “Goodell is such a moron. He should have demanded a bubble and cited the nba and nhl success.”
    —————–

    The NBA played every game on four courts in Orlando. The NHL played every game in just two hockey rinks. How do you suppose the NFL play 16 games a week on a football field without it turning into a muddy mess?

  11. Billionaire owners want the income. That’s what this disaster season boils down to. The commissioner office is clearly a useless and powerless position when the owners just go ahead and do whatever they want.
    Wheels are coming off this season. Disease without a cure, knows no boundries. Time to shut things down. Look around the country: 211k dead, virus still raging, a lot of mask-refusal out there still. Do we want this to go away, or don’t we?

  12. The NFL protocols are not sufficient. The players are not required to wear masks when on the sidelines or playing, but they then go home to wives, girlfriends and children where they can easily get infected.

    The only way this will work is if they are in a bubble or bubbles, and and many have pointed out, that would be very difficult.

    As it stands, we can see that the current protocols don’t work. Now we are headed into the winter when the virus is expected to be far, far worse. It won’t get better.

    The NFL has to demand that all teams isolate at hotels…..or just end the season.

  13. Money means the NFL will play as long as possible. But a couple more outbreaks could make it impractical.

    At some point rescheduling games without key players impacts the integrity of the season- teams win or lose based on who’s available that week.

    The next couple weeks will be crucial.

  14. I know why they don’t test on gameday.

    I’m in a shrinking organization in a mature industry. We’re always looking for the things you are doing today that you don’t need to be doing. If you can’t tell me what decisions are being driven by a particular report, we probably shouldn’t be putting time and effort into that report.

    Same things with the gameday test. The tests aren’t 100% reliable. If you test the day before the game, you have time to run and process additional tests to rule out a false positive. You don’t have time to do that on gameday. So if you get a positive, you immediately get boxed into a play or delay decision.

    They choose not to allow that particular box to exist. No test, no conundrum.

  15. Wisconsin is experiencing the worst of the outbreak, yet Green Bay continues to keep their players from getting the virus by executing on the protocol. The league is right.

  16. “They think that the league wants to be able to say, in the event someone gets sick or worse, that the problem wasn’t the protocols but the failure of one or more teams to follow them.”

    The League called a goalline fade.

  17. What a bunch of babies. I wear a mask 8 hours a day at my job…and not because I have to. Because I care about my family. They’re being asked to wear a mask for 3 hours doing a job that 99% OF MEN would trade a VITAL organ to be doing.

  18. The NBA played every game on four courts in Orlando. The NHL played every game in just two hockey rinks. How do you suppose the NFL play 16 games a week on a football field without it turning into a muddy mess?

    How about teams playing in indoor venues? You wouldn’t have to worry about the field.

  19. So you’re saying the NFL under Goodell is more concerned about optics than doing the actual right thing?

    NO WAY

  20. But it begs the question….what are you going to do when you have to take care of yourself and you can’t count on anyone. It comes up in everyone’s life at some point.

  21. Well forcing the Chiefs/Pats game is a good indicator that the league isn’t thinking this through. The game never should have been played.

    If NFL Darling Mahommes comes down with it they will learn their lesson the hard way.

  22. Teams, coaches and players have to man up. Follow the protocols. They all make a lot of money. Why are they risking that and other people’s lives? The buck stops at each man. Mask up, social distance and stop partying. It’s 3 months. The rest of America is suffering far worse than these people, I guarantee it.

  23. Answer to the question of how you play 16 games on a field without it becoming a muddy mess If you play it on an artificial surface. Duh.

    I wonder why the league doesn’t just let the coaches go maskless and treat them like players. Seems to me I’ve heard of a couple of dozen players catching it and far fewer coaches catching it.

  24. The threat of forfeiture of games should have been in the covid 19 rules from the start from the beginning.
    To save the season, put that rule in immediately.
    Revenue and rankings is what gets attention -for teams and players.

  25. I don’t get it. I’m a film director. I’ve lived in a hotel for six months by myself. No family etc. Just went to work and came back to the hotel every day. It’s not great, but it’s not bad either. If you love the work, you just get it done. Why is that so hard for the NFL to fathom?

  26. I cant say I disagree, but at the same time, when the Coaches cant even keep a damn mask on, the most basic of basic protocols, then its hard to take their position seriously. Maybe the NFLs plan is flawed. But if teams refuse to follow it, then can you really blame the shield for blaming the teams?

  27. Just wait until November, when the USA will be hitting a record number of COVID cases. The no-bubble approach will look rather ridiculous at that point.

  28. The league is way too overbearing and hypocrites. Why don’t they take the same stance on player discipline.

  29. “The NBA played every game on four courts in Orlando. The NHL played every game in just two hockey rinks. How do you suppose the NFL play 16 games a week on a football field without it turning into a muddy mess?”

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    If there’s no fans in the stadiums, then the games don’t need to be played in NFL stadiums anyways, do they?. Pick a city with 5 state of the art HS football fields and run 3 games a day in each stadium.

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