Could COVID-19 Wreck the NFL?


Mike Vrabel, Coach of the Tennessee Titans (Image Courtesy of Sky Sports)

Cases of COVID-19 are rising in the NFL. The virus is making a name for itself, knocking out some of the league’s biggest stars.  With everything going on, leagues like the NFL are finding a way to keep their players in the best shape that they can during these rocky times. 


Where It All Started

The Tennessee Titans broke records this past month, but it helped sports fans and analysts learn some lessons.  On September 24, 2020, it was reported that the Titans had a positive COVID-19 test. In the coming days, the team would discover another handful of positive tests.  They were the first NFL team to contract the virus, and that sparked worries.  This news came soon after a Week 3 win against the Minnesota Vikings, and soon, the thought that the NFL was in danger spread fast.

The Titans ultimately had around fifteen cases of COVID-19. They ended up rescheduling a Week 4 game against the Steelers, which was eventually delayed three weeks.  Awareness was raised, and the NFL office set up precautions that would hopefully slow down the transmission of the virus.  The NFL took part in social distancing, said no to jersey swaps after games, forced coaches to wear face shields and masks even on the sideline.  The threat got real when the NFL said that they would take away draft picks or issue fines for actions that went against the league’s COVID-19 policies.  Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, Saints head coach Sean Payton and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden were each fined $100,000 for their actions that went against COVID-19 guidelines.

The worst that could happen is just unbelievable.  If an NFL team does fall ill from the virus, which has to be significant and a majority of the team, the NFL will forfeit the rest of the season games.  This may be the right action to straighten up NFL teams, but are they unnecessary.  Thus far, the NFL has proved that it can handle adversity pretty well. There may be flaws, but that can be expected with something as crazy and unpredictable as COVID-19.


The Possible Downfall?

After the Titans and Vikings both had players test positive for COVID-19, all thirty other teams started to step up their testing, in order to stop it from spreading too far.

Teams that have had at least one positive test for the virus include the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, and New Orleans Saints, among others. The positive tests from Tennessee were piling up. They were in serious jeopardy of having their season taken away from them unless the number of players with COVID-19 significantly reduced.

This could be the building block for other teams who have caught COVID-19, in order to see how they could solve their problems to get through the season. For the record, what is going on right now puts all of the NFL’s thirty-two teams in jeopardy. Just because you are not the Tennessee Titans, does not mean you should ignore the rules the NFL has put in place to keep players safe.

As the league heads into Week 11 of the regular season, teams need to take more responsibility for their actions, and from there, wait it out. Slip-ups are not acceptable. The league should move on from the past ten weeks of football and think clearly on how they can shape up to be a bit more protective. But there has been some progress, it just may be hard to notice. The NFL has not yet had to suspend the season. That at least shows participation and effort going in, on behalf of all thirty-two teams. So props to them, for noticing trouble, and finding a way to get out of it, even though this season has proven not to be entirely perfect. Most daring plans have flaws, but teams have to keep going, in order to give people hope for your or their future. During the seemingly endless year of 2020, people have become subject to point out flaws. The NFL saw problems, and fixed them, by bringing back football for diehard fans, and even people who just want to watch something else other than bad news all the time. After being stabbed many times, through all the bleeding, the NFL has found a way to miraculously survive.