The National Football League has been extremely lucky in the past three weeks since kicking off the season. Despite COVID case numbers being on the rise, teams have been able to remain virus-free. This goal was attainable with a few adjustments to the game-day environment, as little to no seating is available, and masks are a mandate for everyone not playing. The teams have been happy to oblige by the organization’s rules if it means they have a season. However, leading up to routine training camps, 66 players decided to opt-out for the year. They stated that the League is taking the bare minimum precautions, and don’t trust that they won’t bring the deadly virus from the field back to their families. The League has respected these players’ decisions, as officials have admitted they did not come prepared the way other sports leagues have, such as the NBA.
Everything was going well for the teams up until last week when trouble struck at the Minessota Vikings versus Tennessee Titans game on Sunday. The game took place at the Vikings’ home stadium in Minneapolis. The teams were neck and neck for most of the game, resulting in overtime. The Titans eventually won by a single point, putting the final score at 31 to 30. They remain undefeated as Vikings have yet to win a game. The winning team was a little worried about losing their winning streak in the upcoming game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The game was scheduled to take place on November 4th.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 29, 2020
However, it seems that the NFL’s COVID luck ran out when the Titans and Vikings each released a statement. Players and personnel on the Titans’ team have been testing positive for the virus. They have currently reached a total of nine cases as of Tuesday. The Vikings have been giving tests to their players and crew members as well, so far there have been no cases. Regardless, both teams are being ordered to suspend all in-person club activities for the rest of the week until they can get the spreading under control.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 30, 2020
The virus has thrown a wrench in the NFL game schedule. The Titans versus Steelers game has been postponed for the meantime as the teams work with the organization to figure out when they can safely reschedule their game. The Vikings still plan to play the Houston Texans next Sunday, as they seemed to return from the game unscathed. However, guidelines prohibit them from practicing together until then. Many are worried about how this will affect their playing, but would rather this than risk not having a game at all. Luckily during the League’s offseason, players were able to adjust to meetings via zoom and staying in shape on their own.
The Titans are currently under slightly stricter guidelines as players continue to test positive. They too are being isolated from one another, but as players fall sick, fewer can stay in shape and practice for their upcoming game against the Steelers. They have also been told there is a good chance their suspension lasts longer than the one received by the Vikings. This news didn’t come as a shock, but none the less is still disappointing.
Luckily, other teams have been given the go-ahead to continue with their games as long as they stay virus-free. The most we can do in the meantime is cross our fingers and hope the Titans heal quickly. Fans of both Steelers and Titans are very excited to watch the two undefeated teams face-off, even if it doesn’t happen this Sunday.