NFL inches toward a COVID-19 catastrophe

USA TODAY Sports

The NFL’s COVID-19 strategy continues to hinge on the notion that players and others will get the virus, and that the league will intervene quickly and decisively by identifying those who have it and remove them from the facility, along with anyone else deemed to be in sufficiently close contact with those who have it.

That strategy will work, until it doesn’t. At some point, a team may have too many players who have tested positive, and too many collateral players who land on the COVID-19 reserve list as a proactive measure, to field a competitive complement of players.

For now, it’s a game of beat the clock. The league wants to get the games played, one after another and week after week, before the situation reaches critical mass in one or more NFL organizations.

The biggest challenge is coming. Thanksgiving potentially will become a national cornucopia of virus-sharing, with tens of thousands of mini-superspreader gatherings around tables and TVs throughout the country unfolding in a haze of tryptophan and Trump-triggered arguments. Then, as all the people who have been urged by the CDC to not travel next week travel back to their home cities, the spread will continue. And continue. And continue.

By the middle of December, that’s when the NFL may arrive at a moment of reckoning. The question is whether the league and the union agree to put the players in a home-market bubble before or after one or more games get canceled due to too many positives and too many other players beyond those who are positive landing on the COVID-19 reserve list.

In many respects, it’s amazing the NFL has made it this far without losing games. It will be even more amazing if that continues, without the league at some point putting all players, coaches, and essential staff in a hotel.

43 responses to “NFL inches toward a COVID-19 catastrophe

  1. Good news is Projected Winner Joe Biden said he has a huge plan in place that will save millions of lives. So let’s hope that’s true.

  2. Prevalence is up, but I don’t see why the current protocols would not be enough to finish the season.
    And the Jets haven’t been able to field a competitive complement of players all season, and no games have been canceled.

  3. Season 2020 was already a tainted season… Virtual offseason, no preseason games, churning rosters & most of all, basically no fans at games… Even if the NFL somehow finishes & gives out another Lombardi Trophy in early 2021, the season will always be considered as an analmoly. — With a vaccine just around the corner, I’m already looking forward to season 2021 & a return to a new & better normal.

  4. Respect all who are working to provide us an nfl season, from top execs down to all the team assistants. It is obvious virus cases are on the rise. It sure seems injuries are much higher this season as well, likely stemming from preseason training restrictions. Whoever the champs are this season will probably be considered a hollow victory from a discounted season. I give merit to the entertainment being provided irregardless.

  5. My wife and I are going to stay home and broil lobster tails. Mini redskin potatoes and asparagus with them. And we could not be happier. Frankly we were going to do this anyhow. But this year we have an extra solid excuse.

  6. ghjjf says:
    November 20, 2020 at 11:26 am
    Shouldn’t have played football without a vaccine.

    4 27 Rate This

    —————

    the bubble proved to work just fine but the arrogant nfl led by Goodell think they’re above everything, including US law, as we’ve seen with Goodell in federal courts, also denying science.

  7. I saw a meme which stated 3 opinions that I believe are simultaneously true.

    The virus is real
    The death count is inaccurate
    The fear is political

    In our current ‘outrage’ society people will react to this I’m sure – without considering that I said nothing about not taking precautions.

  8. No one I know is travelling this year, I hope the vast majority stay home for all of the holidays. I hope they cancel in-person party for Times Square for NYE. Too many strangers packed together. Even though people mistakenly believe 2021 is magically going to be better because the calendar flips. Hope springs eternal, I guess.

  9. It is very remarkable that through all of this, one team (Seattle) has still not but a player on the COVID-19 list since the season began.

  10. NFLPA agreement is only needed for a mandatory bubble. Players can decide for themselves.

    If I was a player on a contending team, I’d volunteer to bubble-ize to gain an advantage versus other playoff teams. The key is the NFL holding to the schedule and not allowing Covid plagued teams to move game dates. Play or forfeit.

  11. The NFL and NFLPA, if they wanted to conduct their protocols correctly, they would have randomized the testing. The everyday testing, while it sounds good, relies on old data when the overnight tests are conducted. The randomized approach keeps everyone honest, makes the test results more timely. That’s how my ER doc wife is tested and my med school daughter is tested. Tracking player movement outside the team facility – that’s where the monitoring device law enforcement uses makes sense for the NFL. It provides GPS location data. Since none of this happened, the league and the union cannot impose this kind of program on the players. Players don’t follow the protocol, they’re suspended until they comply.

  12. Too many people are too stupid to do what they are supposed to do. This is the reason that some laws get created.

  13. so………… the government and the media have spent an entire year year lying and manipulating the public, why would anyone believe anything they say about the virus or anything else?

  14. touchback6 says:
    November 20, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Won’t be a full season.

    Too many morons in our country.

    Yep.
    ————————————————————————————————————
    People like touchback6 have been saying this for 10 weeks. We’re now in week 11 and no games have been cancelled to this point. Whatever the NFL is doing is working since only a handful of players have tested positive and there have been no outbreaks. With the amount of players and coaches on NFL teams, this COVID season has been a rousing success. I’m excited for the rest of the season and the playoffs.

  15. Godzilla says:
    November 20, 2020 at 11:51 am
    My wife and I are going to stay home and broil lobster tails. Mini redskin potatoes and asparagus with them. And we could not be happier. Frankly we were going to do this anyhow. But this year we have an extra solid excuse.
    ____________________________________

    Don’t you mean mini football team potatoes?

  16. Too many people are too stupid to do what they are supposed to do. This is the reason that some laws get created.

    Unfortunately those that make the laws are just as stupid or just don’t think they need to follow them as well…

  17. Remember the time when reporting was done with facts and no stories relied on maybes and stories full of “this may happen” “potentially” and maybe that…

    I miss that time, and those professionals.

  18. supercharger says:
    November 20, 2020 at 11:13 am

    Good news is Projected Winner Joe Biden said he has a huge plan in place that will save millions of lives. So let’s hope that’s true.

    ^^^^^^^^^^

    The plan is adhere to medical advice, not yahoo politicos spouting off. Number of lives to be saved: tbd.

  19. Florio says … the sky is falling, stay in your basement, covid will end all sports this year; over reactions on all. It will all be ok!

  20. buffalobluecollarlunchbucket56
    If masks work why is the virus spreading. I see everybody rocking a mask, i wear one to. Never missed work as my job is considered essential. Live in the suburbs of ny. Never wore a mask until it was mandated. So why did not get i sick?

  21. suckmypauls says:
    November 20, 2020 at 6:40 pm
    buffalobluecollarlunchbucket56
    If masks work why is the virus spreading. I see everybody rocking a mask, i wear one to. Never missed work as my job is considered essential. Live in the suburbs of ny. Never wore a mask until it was mandated. So why did not get i sick?

    __________________________________________________________

    If you watch any news outlet, the virus is spreading. A deadly, contagious disease. It’s a simple selfless thing to do. When smarter people than me, medical professionals and scientists say wear a mask. I comply.

  22. suckmypauls says:
    November 20, 2020 at 6:40 pm
    buffalobluecollarlunchbucket56
    If masks work why is the virus spreading. I see everybody rocking a mask, i wear one to. Never missed work as my job is considered essential. Live in the suburbs of ny. Never wore a mask until it was mandated. So why did not get i sick?
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    It’s been proven very difficult to become exposed to the virus when your head is up your *ss.

  23. We are at 15 cases. Soon to be zero. Churches will be packed soon.
    And you morons believed him. No surprise. The same morons who get all wigged out when someone kneels for the national anthem.
    #fakepatriots

  24. The best way to avoid Covid is to sit in Mom’s basement and watch Beavis and Butthead like half the idiots here that laugh at the mask requirements.

  25. Godzilla says:
    November 20, 2020 at 11:51 am
    My wife and I are going to stay home and broil lobster tails. Mini redskin potatoes and asparagus with them. And we could not be happier. Frankly we were going to do this anyhow. But this year we have an extra solid excuse.

    Don’t you mean football team potatoes? Get with the times man!

  26. Trump-triggered arguments.

    ——————————-

    seriously? people arguing over politics is not related to how/if/when the virus spreads… there are so many other methods.

    keep the politics out of this

  27. We will reach herd immunity before too long. Over 12 million confirmed cases and 10 times more not confirmed because they weren’t tested. How anyone could think for a minute that covid-19 is going to somehow go away is baffling to me. The slower it spreads the longer it will be around and the more people who will keep catching and spreading the virus. The virus will run it’s course and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

  28. Have 2 friends mid thirties infected – not great experience – they are working through it. I know 3 people that died. I’m not overly social. Denying is so lame, self centered is so lame. I don’t like people for the most part and still have the common sense to know it’s real and the empathy to take all precautions to save others. Anything else is sociopathic and narcissistic.

  29. With 2 vaccines (by Pfizer and Moderna) being approved that are supposed to be 95% effective, hopefully COVID-19 won’t be an issue much longer. Guess it’ll go to those most in need first though and with other countries wanting it as well hope they can mass produce it pretty quickly.

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