Why NFL refused to push back Saturday's Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers game

If the Denver Broncos can play a game without a quarterback, the Detroit Lions can fall due without their head coach.
Interim Lions coach Darrell Bevell said Thursday the team had asked the NFL to work around the COVID-19 issues the Lions left behind for Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers without five coaches, including Bevell.
The NFL declined the request and the Lions will play the Bucs on Saturday as scheduled, with Bevell being quarantined at a local hotel.
"I know we tried hard to have things that could help us," Bevell said. "Again, it's between the league and the club. I'm just, as I said, disappointed. I know if the game was on Sunday I would be there because the time frame was up and really, all of these coaches could be there "So I think that's the most disappointing part. But we have to go ahead with what they tell us."
Detroit Lions interim coach Darrell Bevell stands on the sidelines for the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 13, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan.
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The NFL has postponed several games this season due to COVID-19, but only for health and safety reasons.
The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers had postponed their Thanksgiving game three times before finally playing six days later on December 2 after the league believed they were tracking Baltimore's COVID outbreak adequately and putting at risk staff without increased risk to participants identified.
The Ravens played without 10 players from their active roster, including star quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Similarly, the league pushed back the Tennessee Titans-New England Patriots game earlier this season after containing a virus outbreak at the Titans facility. The Patriots played this game without quarterback Cam Newton.
The Lions reported two positive cases of COVID on Tuesday, one from linebacker Anthony Pittman and a second from an unidentified trainer, but had no other incidents.
"We are making all reasonable efforts, in accordance with underlying health and safety principles, to play all regular and postseason games as planned," said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy in an email. "This is based on a commitment to the players, the clubs and the fans. In compliance with the jointly developed NFL-NFLPA protocols, medical professionals have determined that there is no risk of additional transmission of the virus between the team or the facility and the game could be safe." be played as planned. "
Detroit Lions racing back D'Andre Swift fumble the soccer ball on a goal from linebacker Will Compton (53) of the Tennessee Titans in the second quarter of December 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.
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The NFL has consistently declined to reschedule games for competitive reasons, forcing the Broncos to play a game against the New Orleans Saints last month when their entire quarterback room was in quarantine.
The Broncos used quarterback Kendall Hinton at the quarterback and lost 31: 3.
On Saturday, Bevell and top defensive assistants, coordinator Cory Undlin, defensive trainer Bo Davis, linebacker trainer Ty McKenzie and defensive trainer Steve Gregory will not be available for the Lions.
More: With Darrell Bevell on Saturday, Robert Prince takes over the position of head coach of the Detroit Lions
Wide Receivers coach Robert Prince will act as head coach, while quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan and head coach head coach Evan Rothstein will take on the offensive and defensive duties.
According to NFL rules, close high-risk contacts of known COVID-positive cases must be quarantined for five days. To date, more than 25 people identified as high-risk close contacts have later returned positive tests.
Although the Lions could be at a competitive disadvantage without a large portion of their coaching staff, Romeo Okwara said they cannot allow this to affect their play on the field.
"At the end of the day it's their word and whatever they say goes," said Okwara. "So we'll just adjust like we've done all year and we're ready to go on Saturday."
Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.
This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions' Request to Push Back the Buccaneers Game, which the NFL rejected

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