COVID-19 won wars against anything in 2020. Sports, bars, restaurants, activities, businesses, churches, and schools shut down for a while because of the pandemic.
Eventually, everything resumed under certain conditions. Everyone socially distanced and wore a mask. They got tested often for COVID-19.
With the weather getting colder, the pandemic threatens to shut down everything once again. The NFL is now in a battle with it with players being tested positive and games shifting towards different days just to get the game in. The NCAA canceled several college football games along with college basketball, and many college basketball programs are now on pause.
The NFL is ready to test the theory it could battle the pandemic and win.
Why else would the league force the Denver Broncos to play the New Orleans Saints without a quarterback on Sunday? Why the league relegated the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers to several different days despite several Ravens coaches and players tested positive for COVID-19?
This is a league that made sure it did everything it could to get the regular season in with no training camp and preseason games. Come hell or high water, games were going to be played since the money had to be made for the owners. Remember the league is a billion-dollar industry, and networks paid billions to get games televised. Owners would not turn it down, and networks want to get everything out of the investment.
Is money that important that players’ health being at risk be damned?
No one says the season should be canceled. The least the league can do is force teams to forfeit and take the loss for being reckless in handling COVID-19 protocols.
The Broncos could not find an actual quarterback to play at that position on Sunday against the Saints since the league ruled quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, and Blake Bortles ineligible to play because of contact tracing concerns following Jeff Driskel’s positive COVID-19 test during the week. Plus, those ineligible quarterbacks failed to wear a mask at the time during the meetings.
They settled on Broncos wide receiver Kendall Hinton to go under center since he had quarterback experience from his Wake Forest days. Not surprisingly, that ended up a disaster. The Broncos settled on running the football just to get by with no success.
The league was better off forfeiting the game. The Saints could have taken the win instead of traveling to Denver, and the Broncos could take the loss in shame. The Broncos had no shot to beat the Saints if their quarterbacks played, and they certainly had no shot to beat them with Hinton.
The Steelers and Ravens settling for a day to play after seeing their games be canceled because of the Ravens not being healthy enough to play made all of this absurd. The Ravens violated COVID-19 protocols, so why should they be allowed to make it up and play? Common sense says they should have been accountable by fining them and taking a loss through a forfeit.
But the NFL makes decisions based on dollars and cents, not common sense. Damn players’ health. Damn coaches’ health. Damn’s anyone’s well-being. There will be a game whether anyone likes it or not.
The NFL will see to it there will be a postseason even if coronavirus gets worse in January. This is a league that was hell-bent on playing this year despite the consequences of lack of social distancing from a sport that requires contact. Again, money has to be made.
The owners hemorrhaged money with no fans in the stands in most places. They need every single penny to make sure they can stay afloat by making money. Don’t fool yourself into ever saying this was about the fans when it is not.
Look, no one wants to hear about the coronavirus. We are all fatigued from this. We want to get back to what it used to be where we would have fun every day instead of thinking about it. But as we learned in 2020, the COVID-19 is undefeated. It becomes a story until it goes away or we get the vaccine to destroy it.
Give the NFL credit for trying to go up against it. This is a league that battled criticism over the years for its poor handling of domestic violence, concussions and so much more, yet it stood at the test of the time. It shouldn’t be surprising it is not afraid of coronavirus.
So what if players die or get sick, the show must go on and money has to be made.