Let’s run via a state of affairs. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, the Titans’ outbreak doesn’t occur. And let’s say, to proceed on that, the contaminated Patriot quarterback is Jarrett Stidham, not Cam Newton.
Does the NFL push for Sunday’s Chiefs-Patriots sport to be performed tomorrow?
I believe it’s honest to say it in all probability would have. The actual fact is, the Titans flew to Minnesota seven days ago after consecutive days of positive tests—observe squad nook Greg Mabin took a check Thursday that turned up constructive Friday morning, and outdoors linebackers coach Shane Bowen took a check Friday that turned up constructive on Saturday morning. And everybody else within the crew’s touring celebration took assessments Saturday that turned up adverse Sunday morning.
All these guys, as such, had been cleared to play and coach towards the Vikings. Now, clearly, it didn’t get the eye Newton’s case did largely as a result of even a fervent Titans fan would have hassle choosing Bowen or Mabin out of a lineup, and the Patriots’ quarterback, conversely, is without doubt one of the most recognizable names within the sport.
Nevertheless it’s not like COVID-19 determined to get extra contagious to soccer gamers when Newton was contaminated than it was with Mabin or Bowen, which, after all, illustrates why the scrutiny was so intense on Saturday, and likewise proves one thing extra important.
The Titans’ case actually modified all the pieces.
As a result of Tennessee underwent a form of worst-case state of affairs—the place the incubation interval of the virus allowed the invisible enemy to sneak within the backdoor and fester for days—the foundations of engagement, at the very least in the meanwhile, have shifted. And that’s not simply in league mandates, but in addition in how gamers are taking a look at their day-to-day lives.
Right here’s Instance No. 1: Earlier than Sunday’s sport was postponed, there was very actual trepidation amongst Patriots gamers about boarding a flight beneath the present circumstances. And my guess is, and that is simply my guess, that trepidation could not have been there had the Titans’ state of affairs not unfolded prefer it did the previous few days.
Clearly, from there, the league acted accordingly.
Right here’s some extra of what we all know on how Saturday performed out in Okay.C. and Foxboro.
• The Patriots and Chiefs each have made the choice to shut their amenities not just for Saturday, however Sunday as properly. That’s why taking part in a sport Monday appears unlikely.
• The drop-dead time for the NFL to decide on the sport will possible come Monday morning. The league plans to manage the conventional PCR testing plus point-of-care testing day by day for each groups (everybody in Tier 1 and a pair of shall be required to do the assessments) till additional discover. The NFL needs to see outcomes from Saturday and Sunday earlier than making a name, and the Sunday PCR assessments gained’t be again till late Sunday/early Monday.
• If all assessments come again adverse (and that is if the choice is made to go ahead with the sport this week), the Patriots will possible nonetheless need to clear point-of-care testing on Monday morning with a purpose to journey.
• That’s why the sport, if it’s performed in Week 4, would nearly need to be performed on Tuesday. The rationale Monday’s been saved alive is the possibility that the NFL and NFLPA green-light the Patriots touring and taking part in on Monday. Day-of-game journey is prohibited beneath the COVID-19 protocols, so that might imply making a particular exception.
• So how did this play out on Saturday? New England had a squad assembly round 8 a.m., so gamers and coaches had been within the constructing within the morning, forward of their scheduled noon flight to Kansas Metropolis. A second squad assembly was known as at round 10:45 a.m., at which level coach Invoice Belichick informed the gamers that all the pieces was on maintain, and so they might go residence and await phrase on easy methods to proceed.
• As for the Chiefs, they’d morning conferences and a walkthrough earlier than phrase got here down from the league that the sport was being postponed.
• Each groups administered further point-of-care testing on Saturday for his or her gamers, and no further positives have come up but.
• It’s at the very least price noting that these have been two of the cleanest groups on the COVID-19 entrance. The Chiefs have had one participant go on the COVID-19 record—and that was UDFA WR Aleva Hifo, whose constructive check got here in late July, firstly of camp—with practice-squad QB Jordan Ta’amu now set to be the second after his constructive check got here again Saturday morning. Newton would be the first Patriot to go on the COVID-19 record.