In an attempt to regain normalcy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Football League ( the “N.F.L.”) announced their plans to move forward with a full sixteen-game season in May. The N.F.L. chose to follow protocols akin to Major League Baseball and Golf, which permit players, and other personnel, to come and go throughout the workday. However, the ramifications of such a decision are now being felt. Despite frequent testing, reconstructed socially distanced facilities, and preventative protocols, many players have tested positive for COVID-19.
On October 1st, the N.F.L indefinitely postponed the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans, because of an outbreak of coronavirus infections in the Titans’ clubhouse, with at least a dozen members of the organization having tested positive for the coronavirus. This was the first outbreak after the third week of the regular season. Additionally, the game between the New England Patriots (“Patriots”) and the Kansas City Chiefs has been postponed after Patriots quarterback, Cam Newton, tested positive for COVID-19.
The delay of both matchups has raised questions in relation to the league’s attempt to play a full season. Facing the outbreaks, the N.F.L released a memo to organizations of the updated protocols – which includes daily testing on bi-weeks. Additionally, players and coaches are prohibited from leaving their team’s city on bi-weeks and any individual in violation of the protocols is subject to sanctions.