Maybe there won’t be a doubleheader on Monday night, after all.
Via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Bears now have 14 players on their COVID-19 reserve list.
At some point, given the precedent created by the postponement of the Raiders-Browns, Washington-Eagles, and Seahawks-Rams games, the game between the Vikings and Bears could enter the conversation regarding a potential postponement.
According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, there’s been no discusson regarding the game’s status, yet.
How many more players on COVID-19 reserve will it take before such discussions happen? Per a source from one of the teams that will be playing in a game that was postponed this weekend, the thinking is that the league regards 44 players are the bare minimum for a game, with 21 on offense (including two quarterbacks and seven offensive linemen), 20 on defense, and a kicker, punter, and longsnapper. If a team can’t pull that off via backups on the 53-man roster or the 16-member practice squad, the league will be inclined to pull the plug on a game.
Indeed, as another source explained it to PFT earlier in the day, the league was considering cancelling any of the games that couldn’t have been played as scheduled, with no postponements. The NFL Players Association got involved to introduce the possibility postponement as a viable option, allowing all games (hopefully) to be played and for all players to be paid. Last year, the league and union agreed that, for cancellations, no players from those games will be paid.
The new protocols will likely reduce the possibility of future outbreaks, as long as players who catch the virus remain asymptomatic.