In recent weeks, NFL fans have found themselves pouring over articles, tweets, and memos discussing the multiple positive COVID tests coming out of the various teams. The Tennessee Titans received criticism for their decision to use a local high school to facilitate their workouts, and it was not unwarranted. The world is in the middle of a pandemic.
Though it is not human nature to allow micromanagement in our lives without a fight, professional athletes do not have the luxury to opt out of their league’s COVID safety parameters. The National Basketball Association finished their season Sunday night with poise and grace; no positive COVID tests were traced back to leaks in the Orlando bubble. Major League Baseball has seen the uglier side of not using the bubble strategy; multiple and rapidly rising positive COVID tests in the first couple weeks of the league’s start influenced the idea for a bubble for the playoffs.
Gridiron football is naturally a very rough, very high contact sport. At a line of scrimmage, you have players breathing on each other, the players have no choice but for saliva to fly out during play. Though technology has been developed and currently being used to limit the amount of saliva and contact during the sport, we, as fans, always know players are high-risk, traveling and tackling each other every week.
The players, crew, and stadium workers will get the virus. They already have, Cam Newton probably being the most notable positive test. There is a lot of hysteria surrounding the virus’ spread, and its ability to shut down the league’s season when it barely started. We are going into week six, and we have had positive player tests on the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans. Thus far, we know an Atlanta Falcon staff member has also tested positive. The New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts both experienced false positive scares, leading to fans spreading this idea: the NFL will shut down if we do not get a grip on these tests.
To this, I disagree. The season may have to be extended. We may not see a Super Bowl in February like we’re used to; maybe we’ll see one in the middle of March or perhaps early April. The players will get the virus. There is already a slight panic about Kansas City Chiefs players contracting it from their positive strength and conditioning coach; the Chicago Bears conceding to the virus after one of their practice squad members contracted COVID.
There will be a spread of the virus. Coaches and franchises have already been fined for not wearing their masks properly; players are advocating for wearing the masks as well. The NFL season won’t be cancelled. More safety regulations, more invasion of the players’ privacy and extracurricular lives will most likely occur. Plexiglass might be a common sight to see during games on the sidelines, and the NFL will do everything they need to do to make football happen as long as they can. Drew Brees said it best, “We need Football! We need sports! We need hope!”. We just do not know what the future of the 2020 season will bring us, but we cannot give up on the longevity of the season just yet.