By: John Robbins
During the weekend of October 3rd, almost three NFL games were affected by the Coronavirus. The first game affected was the Tennessee Titans against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Twenty players and staff members from Tennessee tested positive for COVID-19, leading to the postponement of the Steelers versus Titans game on October 25th. The Titans had no positive tests and were open to their facility on October 7th.
The other affected game was the New England Patriots against the Kansas City Chiefs. New England’s starting quarterback, Cam Newton, was the only player between the two teams to test positive. He was unable to participate in the game as a result of his positive result, and the game was moved to Monday night.
The third game that was almost affected was by COVID-19 was the matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions. Fullback for the Saints, Michael Burton initially tested positive the day before the game on Sunday. On the day of the game, the retest of Burton turned up as negative, allowing the game to go ahead as scheduled.
As a result of these incidents, the NFL updated their protocols concerning the Coronavirus. These changes include longer times for free agents to be brought on board, limits on tryouts per week, a ban on gatherings outside the team facility, the creation of a video monitoring system to make sure protocols are followed, a recommendation to make meetings virtual, and a push for more use of masks at practice. These protocols were implemented on Tuesday, October 6th and will remain for the rest of the season unless the NFL sees reason to change them.