The past week has seen the shutdown of the Vikings and Titans facilities, a false positive COVID-19 test, and the postponement of two games. Currently, the NFL is investigating whether or not the Titans have properly followed issued protocols, sources tell Adam Schefter. The Patriots and Chiefs are slated to play on Monday night after Cam Newton‘s positive test. With all the uncertainty, what does the rest of the season look like?
Baseball has done it. The Major League went with a different approach than the NBA and the NHL. They chose not to create some sort of bubble environment and had teams travel regionally and did not allow fans. This led to several instances of positive tests and postponing games. In spite of this, the league was able to finish the regular season and is currently hosting their playoffs. The advantage baseball has, however, is the ability to play two games in one day. The NFL does not have that luxury.
One idea gaining traction around the NFL is pausing the season and changing the schedule to allow for 12 total regular-season games. That leaves nine remaining games for each team. Coaches around the league have suggested this format, including creating a bubble in hotels for the teams, per ProFootballTalk. This would obviously require input from the players and potentially lead to another round of opt outs.
Another process is to simply continue play, continue utilizing bye-weeks to make up missed games, and finish the season as close to scheduled as possible. An issue here, what if a team has to make up a game due to their own positive tests, then a different opponent has to miss their game? When do you make those up? If you try to tack games on at the end of the season, will other teams just have two or three weeks off? What does that do for rest or rust?
Of course, they could cancel the season altogether. At this point that does not seem like a legitimate possibility. As mentioned, baseball got through it and by and large had a successful season. With everything already underway, it will be interesting to see what the League decides. We will have to wait until later in the week to see if they deviate from their current course.