Bad COVID News For NFL

The Patriots have to hope they aren’t the Titans.

Jim Rome
October 07, 2020 - 10:29 am
Stephon Gillmore

USA Today


The NFL has received a couple of pieces of bad Covid news today. Let’s start in Tennessee where the Titans had gone two days without a positive test. A third day without positive tests would mean they could re-open their facilities today and prepare for the Bills on Sunday.

But this morning, Tom Pelissero reported that two more player tested positive today. Damn. That sucks. That means the facility will not re-open and the status of Sunday’s game is in doubt. 

It also means that the Titans have had 20 positive tests, and counting, in their outbreak that has already forced the postponement of the Titans-Steelers game.

At this point, I’m really not clear how you could play the game against the Bills on Sunday. It’s Wednesday. The facility has been closed for a while now and there are 20 positive tests among the players and staff.

Even if they could prepare with mental reps, would they have enough guys to field a team? Or are guys going to have to go old school and play both ways?

And like I said, that’s the first piece of bad news. Here comes the second: the New England Patriots have two more positive tests. The first came from practice squad player Bill Murray.

And you can save your Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day jokes, I’m sure he’s already heard them before and they weren’t funny the first time. And they definitely won’t be now.

The fact is, the belief is that Murray had not had much contact with Cam Newton and he didn’t travel to Kansas City for Monday night’s game.

And then came the second positive test: cornerback and reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore has tested positive as well. He is now the third member of the Patriots to test positive. Practice has been cancelled for today.

If you’ll recall, after Cam Newton tested positive, the team decided to fly to Kansas City on Monday, taking two planes. One would be for people who had close contact with Cam Newton and one would be for everyone else.

And Gilmore was on the Covid Air flight.

Look, I don’t want to Monday Morning Quarterback this one and I know the league and both teams were trying to get the game played and get it in on a Monday so that everyone’s schedules weren’t jacked up going forward.

But if the solution to a problem involves putting a bunch of potentially infected people on the same plane, maybe that’s not a great solution. In fact, that might not even be a solution at all.

I’m not going to say that taking a plane full of possible Covid carriers to Kansas City was the worst idea ever, but I would say that it sounds like the premise of a Nic Cage film.

Except instead of having John Malkovich playing Cyrus the Virus, this time, the virus is being played by…an actual virus.

I’m not going to say it was completely and utterly reckless, but there sure as hell was risk involved. As Charles Robinson and I talked about on Monday, would you have wanted to be on the Covid Express? Was Covid Air the flight you would’ve chosen to take to Kansas City? And what if you were working for the airline and you had to work that flight, would you have been happy about that?

The original idea behind that flight was that everyone who was on it had been in close contact with Cam Newton. Now everyone who’s on that flight has also been in close contact with Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore. That is not good at all.

Because if you’ll recall, the Titans had a confirmed case, then flew to Minnesota to play and flew back, and now they have a full-blown outbreak.

And if you really want to scare the daylights out of yourself, just stare at the photos and video of Gilmore and Patrick Mahomes chatting on the field after the game. And just imagine all of the exhaling that Gilmore was doing and all of the inhaling that Mahomes was doing.

Tom Pelissero tweeted: The Chiefs -- who played Stephon Gilmore and the Patriots on Monday night -- returned no positive tests from Tuesday's round of testing, I'm told. They're allowed to practice today under the supplemental intensive protocols, including mandatory use of PPE by player in practice.

That’s good. But that doesn’t mean Kansas City and the Patriots are out of the woods yet. Not even close. Because the incubation period can last a number of days.

Mike Giardi of the NFL Network tweeted: Text from a Patriots player: "here we go again." Concerned? "Look, we're better cared for than most" but adds "it's bringing this <bleep> home that's scary."

Completely. Because it's not just about playing games, it's about keeping players safe, and keeping everyone they come into contact safe as well

What they attempted to do was a gamble, even a calculated game, and it didn’t work. And now the Patriots have to hope they aren’t the Titans.

And not that anyone in the league should need another reminder, but apparently Jon Gruden does, wear your mask. Or to quote Baker Mayfield, talking about masks in general: "To me, it's not that damn hard. Just wear your mask. We all want to play football."