The NFL is have their first real Covid-19 crisis. A crisis where you hope everyone involved comes out healthy. A crisis that was very predictable, and I’m sure the league knew it was going to happen to some extent. Did they think an entire team had to shut down and a QB star would be positive within the same week? Probably not, but with the way things are set up and the players not being in a real bubble, it was bound to happen. This must be a wake-up call to the league that it needs to think about how it can keep its teams isolated in the future.
Whether that means taking everyone and putting them in one place, like a team hotel in the future, it’s clear that they need to do something about it. They have to isolate the teams and make sure that there is no chance of players and staff interacting with anyone outside of the organization as much as possible. This is both the league and the players’ association to determine. They have to do it because the season depends on it. And no, I don’t think they can make a big bubble like the NBA. It just isn’t doable for the NFL, and never has been. The teams are too big, and there was no location that could meet the needs of a full NFL season. With that in mind, they need to do something to curb this recent trend of positive testing. Otherwise, the season could be compromised.
MLB went through this same thing months ago with outbreaks within the Marlins and Cardinals and succeeded because those cases served as a wake-up call for the league. The NFL is in the same boat right now, but unlike the MLB, it can’t be so flexible with its schedule. There is no double-handed schedule in the NFL. And while they may have moved the Titans and Steelers game around due to the upcoming weeks off, it gets more and more tricky as the season progresses.
The NFL needs to understand that if it doesn’t take extreme measures, this season could quickly derail. Because right now you have Cam Newton, one of the most popular players in the NFL, who is not available to play due to the virus. You have a whole team forced into quarantine because 16 members of the organization have tested positive. Despite all the goodwill the NFL has accumulated to go through training camp with very few positive tests, it is now going through a very real crisis that needs to be dealt with. It’s up to the NFL and the NFLPA to figure out and tackle because if they don’t, they can say goodbye to the season they’ve worked so hard for.