The NFL is pushing the envelope when it comes to playing football in a pandemic that’s gotten even more out of hand since the summer. Which is why the league’s latest memo reveals a plan to take their handling of COVID-19 to another level:
The NFL sent a memo to teams today informing them that, as of this Saturday, all 32 teams must operate under the league’s intensive COVID-19 protocols for the remainder of the season. That means virtual meetings, masks on the practice field, etc.
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) November 18, 2020
At first blush, you might be wondering what teams were doing before. But there is a different between the league’s basic protocols and the “intensive” protocols it will now operate under for the rest of this season. For instance, more stringent rules enforce more virtual meetings and mandatory masks being worn when on the practice field. In other words, the baseline requirements are now higher for all of the teams, and not just for those who had a positive test or played a team that had a player test positive (for two examples).
We’ve seen the Bears handle COVID-19 protocols with the best of them. And even then, they couldn’t prevent cases occurring among the team. So with coronavirus numbers rising around the country — and thus including NFL communities — it comes as no surprise that the NFL desired to take its protocols to another level.
In the end, this feels like a sensible action. Hopefully, it’s one that I hope isn’t a “too little, too late” push.