How the NFL is Tackling COVID-19

The Chicago Bears have had one player put on the COIVID-19 reserve list since July and are currently playing home games with no fans. Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune

Tim Folliard – Sports Editor

With the conclusion of Monday’s game, the NFL has officially completed half of their 2020 regular season. The 119 total games that have been played is much more than a lot of people anticipated in the midst of a global pandemic. The five Bears wins are also more than some fans expected as well.

Since July, over 150 players have been placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. This list is for those who have tested positive or have come in close contact with someone who has. The Bears have had four players put on the list, but only one player put on the list during the regular season.

The biggest names that have been put on the list are former MVP quarterback Cam Newton and All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore. At the moment, there are nine NFL players currently on the COVID-19 reserve list. There will be more added to that list as All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey tweeted out Monday that he has tested positive. The Arizona Cardinals announced that two players tested positive on Monday as well.

Unlike the NBA, NHL and MLB playoffs, the games are being played at the team’s home stadium. Fourteen teams, including the Bears and Packers, are currently playing without fans in stadiums. On the contrary, nine teams are allowing 12,000 or more fans to attend the games.

On the Friday before this weekend’s games, there were no new positive cases in the NFL’s league wide weekly tests. Over three weeks ago, there was a significant outbreak on the Tennessee Titans. After playing the Minnesota Vikings, the Titans had eighteen players test positive. The Vikings had no positive tests.

Because of the Titans’ mess, the NFL schedule has seen some alterations. This year’s Titans vs. Bills game was only the second Tuesday Night game played since 1946.

As of now, the Super Bowl is still scheduled for February 7, 2021 in Tampa Bay, Florida. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times in September, Jonathan Barker, the NFL’s Head of Live Event Production, said, “Our hope is to fill this stadium with fans. That’s our hope.”

In October, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis approved all Florida stadiums to operate at full capacity. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and MIami Dolphins still have limited seating.

A lot can happen in the second half of the NFL season. Another team could have an outbreak that is similar or larger than the Titans. But so far, the NFL has not fumbled their handling of COVID-19.