Football is back! As with everything, though, the threat of COVID-19 is one to be wary about. Here we will explain what the NFL is doing to prevent outbreaks and keep the public entertained.
The NFL has dealt with the coronavirus so far by testing all players and essential staff daily for the disease. As of October 9th, 11 players and 15 team personnel have tested positive. The Titans, the Patriots and the Jets have all had confirmed cases, and some changes have been made to compensate. One major change is the evaluation of anyone considered to have been in “close contact” with a COVID positive person. The evaluation spans 4-5 days, accounting for the incubation period of the virus. Anyone who tests positive has to wait at least 10 days and have no symptoms for 72 hours to return. If the person is asymptomatic, they can test negative on two PCR tests 24 hours from each other within at least 5 days and return early.
The players, unlike in other sports leagues, are allowed to do what they want. Obviously there are restrictions, (for example, attending any kind of concert or event isn’t allowed and will be punished), but they’re allowed to make their own decisions. While the system is unique, it has prevented any mass outbreaks.
Our own football coach, Mr. Fowle, has this to say about it: “… in the NFL model, the focus is on the teams and individual players to make decisions that limit the risk of contraction and spread of covid … . ”
This system puts a mighty amount of trust on its players to do the right thing, and so far everyone has opted to keep safe and keep their jobs. Except for Kemah Siverand, a rookie on the Seahawks. He was cut for attempting to sneak a woman into his hotel room.
Another change being made due to the coronavirus is the shuffling of games. With some teams having outbreaks, it’s understandable that the schedule would change to accommodate them. For example, the Broncos vs Patriots game that was scheduled for the 11th of October had been moved first to the 12th, then to the 18th due to COVID positives in the Patriots. The Chiefs vs Bills game had also been moved from the 8th to the 19th, and several other games shifted around from week to week (Jets v Dolphins Week 10 to Week 6, Jets v Chargers Week 6 to Week 11, etc.).
Coach Fowle states, “It sounds like perhaps they will add another week to the season to accomodate for those and any more that may need to be rescheduled.”
This is reasonable, as certain precautions do have to be taken. More time certainly lets the NFL prepare for any new issues they have Covid-wise. With luck, the system put in place will continue to keep the NFL relatively Covid free.