NFL continues to see positive coronavirus cases rise
The New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans and Las Vegas Raiders have all reported positive coronavirus cases among their players. Yahoo Finance's Dan Roberts is entering the final round to discuss the details and next steps for the NFL if no further precautions are taken.
SEANA SMITH: Well, I'm talking about coronavirus cases that have crept into cities across the country, some cities - or some states - with the highest number of cases recorded in the past seven days. But if you look at how some of the sports leagues are handling it, we got new news today about the NFL and the cases that are still rising there. Two other players in the Titans and a third player in the Patriots test positive.
Dan, now we have two games at risk this weekend. And this is a league that started the season on the right foot. What can you tell us and how do you think the league will respond?
DAN ROBERTS: Well, we have games at risk, that's right. The warning I am giving is that when people see this news and I get it, the first reaction is to say, oh boy, especially if you see reports of multiple cases on multiple teams at the same time, you say oh boy is in danger all season Boy I don't think so.
I think the NFL, and from everyone I've spoken to, I spoke to someone pretty close to the NFL reps a few hours ago and said that next to nothing would make the NFL stop the season or suspend. I mean, the income is big enough and mostly from broadcasting. And the kind of power is big enough that this league won't stop.
Some games may be postponed, some games may be canceled. This would be a worst-case scenario. But people’s reaction is to say, how will this season go on? It will. And you know the NFL knew they were going to have COVID cases. I'm not defending what the league did. I just think this is the reality.
And if you remember, when Major League Baseball came back about two weeks later, the Marlins had a big breakout and everyone was saying then, what's this going to do? This season is in trouble. You did it. You messed it up. And now we are here in the MLB postseason.
So you are right. We have the next Patriots game in jeopardy, the next Titans game is in jeopardy, there's a case with the Raiders. And I think the key to what the NFL has done is they test all of their players every day. You know, when Cam Newton the Patriots quarterback reportedly tested positive three days later, you still had no positive results for the Patriots and everyone was so surprised.
They said wait a minute how could that be? Then where did he get it from? And then we say we have a positive result in Stephon Gilmore, the Patriots' defense star. So it's a reminder that there is an incubation period. You can test anyone and you won't get positive results. Two days later they have positive results. That is worrying.
But they test the players every day. I think if there's anything the league can be brought on, it's that they should probably have had more goodbye weeks in hindsight. You know, they should have probably gone more weeks into the season when the teams weren't supposed to play so they had open gaps to postpone the games if they got positive cases.
I mean, the NFL had all the time in the world to prepare for it. But all that has been said, yes I think you might see some games postponed. We saw earlier that the Titans game was postponed last weekend. Right now that's the worst thing I can think of. But you need to keep monitoring the situation.
And every time a player tests positive, he isolates them for 10 to 14 days. And that's the status quo right now. I expect more positive results. But I'd warn people, I don't think that means, oh, the whole season is going to end anytime soon.
SEANA SMITH: Well Dan, that's a disadvantage, isn't it? When it comes to the NFL, compared to, say, the MLB you just talked about because if the MLB wanted to postpone a game they could potentially have a double header. You have more options to put this game together, while the NFL, you can't play two soccer games in a week. I mean, that's just for security reasons.
It's not the right call. I think your options are limited right now.
DAN ROBERTS: Well that's exactly right. And I'm glad you said that because it's already too short or considered a short week with a team playing on both Sunday and Thursday, right? And then you didn't have a preseason either. We talked about it, you know, it's a little early to say but the injury rate is higher than usual because there weren't any pre-season games.
So you add that the idea of rescheduling games is difficult. I mean, there has been talk of the Patriots Chiefs being moved to Tuesday this week. And instead it happened on Monday night, even though Cam Newton wasn't there. But I think you're going to come across some worst-case scenarios where instead of pushing a game, the Titans-Steelers game has been postponed until week 7 instead of pushing a game, maybe some games just don't see it.
But you're right, the NFL is at a disadvantage there. It's a much shorter season, you have one game a week. With baseball, you can always throw a double header. You can have a team play twice in a day. So tough for the NFL, and they just have to keep messing up. Let's make sure we mention for viewers if they haven't seen this just a few days ago. The NFL announced stricter restrictions and bigger penalties for teams that fail to follow COVID regulations.
When you hire a new player like a free agent or win a player through a trade, the onboarding process takes much longer than usual. That also makes it more difficult. I mean, you have a man who has COVID. Suddenly you have to bring a new man into the team, on board for a long time.
So it's not easy. The look may not be great. But I think the NFL is likely to just mess up the positive cases that come up.
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