New York — Since week 1, the National Football League and the NFL Players Association announced that the league would be monitoring COVID-19 test results. Players and personnel who test positive for COVID-19 must adhere to the joint NFL-NFLPA Treatment Protocol, in which infected people are isolated immediately. As a result, some games have been shuffled forward to as far as week 11.
Because of recent outbreaks, the Denver Broncos vs New England Patriots game, which has already been rescheduled twice because of positive tests, will now be played in week 6, sending a ripple effect throughout the rest of the scheduling.
“One thing we learned this year is that we have to be able to adapt to changes and adjustments and make adjustments,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in a press conference last Saturday, Oct 10. The team returned to practice the same day. Belichick also noted that the team hasn’t been able to practice together due to facilities being shut down last Tuesday Oct. 6.
A team that has seen a major outbreak recently in its facilities is the Tennessee Titans. The team returned to practice last Saturday after team facilities shut down on Wednesday, Sept 29.
General Manager Jon Robinson said in a statement on Monday that the team has put eight feet between team lockers, and team management is following league protocols. Chairs in the team cafeteria have also been removed and the food is now grab and go.
The Titans week 5 game, which was played on Tuesday, Oct. 13, was originally supposed to be played on Sunday, Oct. 11. Similarly, a week 4 game was pushed back to week 7.
In a presser on Oct 10, starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill voiced his uncertainty about the COVID-19 testing protocols and how they affect his day-to-day preparations. “The fact that we had guys with no symptoms testing positive and we had guys with full-blown symptoms getting consecutive negative on multiple days was really eye-opening,” he said. Tannehill noted that he had lost faith in the testing system due to everything he and his teammates had to go through while being isolated for those 11 days.
So far over 7,700 players and team personnel have been tested with two new positive tests among players and four new positive tests among personnel as of week 5.
Some notable games rescheduled are as follows — Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills (Week 6) moved from Thursday, Oct. 15 to Monday, Oct.19 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (Week 10) moved to Week 6 on Sunday, Oct 18 at 4:05 p.m Eastern.
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos (Week 11) moved to Week 8 on Sunday, Nov. 1 at 4:05 p.m. Eastern.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers (Week 8) moved to Week 7 on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 4:25 p.m. Eastern.
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- “NFL and NFLPA COVID-19 Monitoring Testing Results”
- New England Patriots Twitter – Bill Belicheck press conference
- Tennessee Titans Twitter – #Titans Press Conference: GM Jon Robinson
- Tennessee Titans Twitter – #Titans Press Conference: QB Ryan Tannehill, S Kevin Byard
- “Week 5 schedule changes”
- NFL Announces Schedule Changes