NFL badly missteps in refusing to reschedule the Lions-Buccaneers game
The show must go on. It doesn't matter if the show stinks to heaven of blatant favoritism and inappropriateness.
This is the message the NFL sent on Christmas Eve when it refused to postpone the Detroit Lions matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from its regular Saturday afternoon opener.
It doesn't matter that much of the Lions coaching team, including interim head coach Darrell Bevell, will not be available due to COVID-19 protocols. It doesn't matter that it's a strange Saturday game that can easily be postponed to Sunday. It doesn't matter that all trainers who are prohibited from coaching on Saturday are 100 percent available on Sunday.
No None of that matters to the NFL. Apparently, Detroit doesn't matter to the NFL either. This is the only possible conclusion that can be drawn from the NFL's insistence on forcing them to play shorthanded.
The Baltimore Ravens had far more common COVID-19 issues earlier this year, and the source was an in-house agent who repeatedly ignored mandatory protocols. So what's happening to Baltimore?
Games - plural - are postponed so the ravens have a chance to compete. Goodbye weeks are thrown around. Baltimore played a game on a Wednesday that the Pittsburgh Steelers did not recover from weeks later.
The NFL leaned back to make sure that reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens had as much leeway as possible to cover their own willful violations of the COVID-19 protocols. Dozens of players and coaches tested positive in Baltimore. Detroit has no infected players, no infected coaches, just exposed. The Lions are asking for 24 hours to postpone the game to a normal kick-off time, and the NFL clap back with stern opposition.
Do you think if the COVID-19 situation was on the other side of the ball in this matchup, the NFL wouldn't move it? Let's say Bruce Arians and his staff weren't available on Saturday but were able to train on Sunday. Does anyone really think the NFL would state that the game must be played on Saturday? What if it was Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski?
Yeah, I didn't think so.
This is not about Lions having the chance to win spoiled. Even with a full coaching staff and every injured player, they probably wouldn't win a win against the Buccaneers. That hides the bigger point.
The NFL, playing favorites with its franchises, is not a healthy way of running a league. It's a slap in the face for loyal Detroit fans who open gifts of Lions merchandise and wear them proudly while they watch a game. It's an intricate scam that directly affects the other teams in the NFC playoff picture. Think the Rams or Cardinals or Bears are excited about the NFL giving the Bucs a massive break in the middle of a hotly contested wild card race?
All because they don't put up with common sense or the concept of a fair playing field. Shame on you, Commissioner Roger Goodell. And shame on those who made this terrible decision possible.
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