Hurley: NFL Season May Crumble If League Reacts Rashly To Cam Newton’s Optimistic COVID Check

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By Michael Hurley, CBS dangolka

dangolka (CBS) — There’s no straightforward means out of this one.

When the Titans skilled a COVID-19 outbreak this week, the league took a wait-and-see strategy and held out hope that issues would work themselves out. They didn’t. As soon as the league begrudgingly accepted actuality and gave up on its goals of a double-Monday Nighter or a Tuesday soccer TV extravaganza, a neat and tidy rescheduling course of took care of the slightly-inconvenient-but-not-all-that-disastrous postponement of that sport till Week 7.

But Saturday confirmed that navigating the waters of enjoying deal with soccer from coast to coast in the midst of a pandemic will not be fairly so easy. And it could not be potential.

Which will seem to be an overstatement after Cam Newton examined constructive for COVID-19, however contemplate the implications.

Already, the sport has been moved again, both to Monday or Tuesday. For now. More likely is that the sport will not be performed in any respect, contemplating Chiefs follow squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu additionally examined constructive for the coronavirus.

For sure, a uncommon Tuesday night time assembly between the Patriots and the defending Tremendous Bowl-champion Chiefs can be an absolute rankings bonanza. But with each groups contaminated by the virus, placing 100 gamers on the sphere only a few days from now to slam heads and pig-pile on prime of one another — after 50 of them, plus a complete teaching employees shares an airplane — won’t be the sagest transfer in the long term.

From varied studies, the Patriots are already involved about their very own scenario, having shared areas with Newton.

The NFL ought to know what the chance of enjoying this sport this week can imply. And the Titans are offering a each day instance.

On Saturday morning, three extra members of the Titans group — one participant and two employees members — produced constructive COVID checks. These positives introduced the overall quantity to 16 — eight gamers, eight employees members — this week. The truth that the Titans first produced constructive checks on Tuesday and continued to supply constructive checks all through the week regardless of shutting their facility down instantly reveals that the incubation interval clearly varies from individual to individual. Somebody could possibly be uncovered to the virus on a Saturday, check damaging from Monday by way of Thursday, after which check constructive on Friday.

The CDC’s official stance is that “the onset and length of viral shedding and the interval of infectiousness for COVID-19 should not but recognized with certainty,” whereas noting that delicate to average carriers could also be contagious for 10 days whereas folks affected by extreme instances could also be contagious for as much as 20 days.

As this pertains to the Patriots and Chiefs, there’s merely no means of figuring out if each single participant who can be lively for the sport will not be carrying the virus. Thus, there’s no means to make sure that this soccer sport doesn’t develop into the second that shuts down the season for these two groups.

Actually, this second serves as a warning that the NFL’s plans of closing its eyes and hoping for the very best will not be tenable throughout a pandemic. Whereas a bubble format might not have been possible both, it’s clear {that a} laissez faire strategy to a contagious virus was doomed to fail from its inception.

If that sounds too doom-and-gloom for this one constructive check, contemplate this: The Vikings performed in opposition to the Titans final week. So far, no Vikings gamers or coaches have examined constructive for COVID-19. That’s seemingly a constructive improvement, after all. However it’s removed from conclusive proof that enjoying deal with soccer — and thus, exchanging bodily fluids — doesn’t unfold the illness.

For one, although each day looks like its personal yr in 2020, it’s solely been six days. Given the entire unknowns in regards to the virus from the scientists who’ve spent the final seven months finding out it, no person ought to be contemplating the Vikings out of the woods simply but.

And if any Vikings check constructive after they play the Texans this weekend? It’s under no circumstances hyperbolic to say the complete NFL season might screech to a halt.

Now, that’s the scenario for a sport the place a group merely has the potential to be carrying the virus with out having any constructive instances. The scenario for the Patriots, the place a recognized constructive has been in and across the facility and dealing in shut contact along with his teammates each day, is a little more dire.

Merely put, the Patriots completely can’t play a soccer sport this week. Actually, the NFL ought to already be evaluating whether or not the Patriots can play a soccer sport subsequent week. Sustaining the potential of a Pats-Chiefs Tuesday night time spectacle at this level looks like nothing greater than wishful pondering. And simply in case it’s not abundantly clear by now — at a time when the President of america, his spouse, and a number of other members of the White Home internal circle are testing constructive for COVID — the world can agree that the virus cares not for wishful pondering.

The virus cares about one factor and one factor solely: spreading. The NFL is simply making the issue worse by performing or hoping as if soccer gamers and coaches and their households will all one way or the other be immune.

This all, after all, is sweet information to precisely no person. This isn’t what the league wished, it’s not what the gamers and coaches wished, it’s not what the followers wished, and it’s not what the media wished. However “wanting” and “cautiously anticipating” are two very totally different ideas; it seems as if the NFL stayed caught on the previous with out giving correct credence to the latter.

For everything of August and three weeks of the season, it regarded like one way or the other, the league’s abounding optimism was paying off. However within the span of simply 5 days, it’s all come crashing down.

So far, two groups have been significantly affected in-season. If the league takes a short-term strategy and forces video games to be performed, the long-term impact may effectively be fully devastating.

For a league that’s skilled lengthy stretches of shaky management from Roger Goodell, the commissioner’s unwillingness to be on the forefront of the league’s decision-making now could be rising increasingly conspicuous. After making certain labor peace simply within the nick of pre-pandemic time in March, the commissioner is previous as a consequence of emerge from the shadows and take a definitive stance on the security of the league’s gamers, coaches, sport officers, group workers, and all of their households. With out clear management and knowledgeable decision-making, the 2020 NFL season appears doomed to fail. Operation “Hope For The Finest” has formally run its course.

Now, at this exact juncture, whether or not the NFL chooses to pivot with its virus technique or forge forward undeterred figures to be the decisive second that determines whether or not the 2020 season will probably be accomplished. Even the mighty NFL can solely play with hearth so many occasions earlier than getting burned.

You’ll be able to electronic mail Michael Hurley or discover him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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