Where Do We Go From Here
To the NFL’s credit, the work done across the league to keep COVID as contained as it has been is better than I could have seen coming.
Through weeks of offseason work, including contact training, and now three full weeks of NFL football, and only now is a team having any problems? It’s not bad for a league with massive rosters and required travel.
But even still, this is the kind of thing that would have been nearly impossible to avoid. So what happens now?
The NFL got a bit lucky in how the Titans and Steelers schedule’s aligned, but that won’t happen every week. The plan for now, at least according to reports, is for the Titans and Steelers to play in Week 7 and take Week 4 as a bye week, and let Pittsburgh play the Ravens in Week 8 rather than Week 7, when both the Steelers and Baltimore originally had their bye weeks.
But that level of scheduling magic won’t happen every time the league needs to reschedule– which forces the NFL to get thinking on some tough questions. Should some games get canceled outright? Should there be a two or three-week in between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs to schedule makeup games?
As of now, the NFL gets the luxury of sitting back and taking the “cross our fingers and hope it doesn’t happen again” approach, but the league can’t get lucky forever. The NFL will need to start thinking of solutions to this ongoing problem sooner rather than later. The Titans mini-outbreak this week might have been the beginning of some major changes coming to the rest of the 2020 season.