It seems the NFL is doing something right when it comes to COVID-19 cases.
According to multiple reporters, there were only 15 NFL players currently on the league’s reserve/COVID-19 list as of Monday morning. Teams cannot specify if players on that list tested positive or are in quarantine, but it’s safe to say anyone who has tested positive and hasn’t been cleared is on that list.
Any case is concerning and serious, but considering that during training camp there are more than 2,500 NFL players on rosters, having only 15 out has to be considered a good sign.
But there are plenty of challenges ahead.
Remaining challenges for NFL
Training camp is a fairly controlled environment. Players from the New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys have had commitments from many of their players to isolate during camp to keep themselves safe. During camp most of the players’ time is occupied by football, and they’re at team facilities most of the day with teammates.
Once the season starts, there’s more free time and travel starts.
As we have seen with Major League Baseball’s headlines with the Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians, it takes a firm commitment to following all the protocols. There are also new challenges with road games, which is likely a reason the NHL (which announced Monday it had no positives in 5,640 tests in its latest round of testing) and NBA are doing well. The NBA is in a bubble in Orlando and NHL teams are in two Canadian hub cities. The NFL won’t have that luxury.
Just because the NFL has a low number of players on the reserve/COVID-19 list now doesn’t mean the season will go off without a problem. But it’s a positive sign.
New testing helps NFL
Even more encouraging than the number of players on the reserve list, the authorization of a saliva-based test by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should make testing easier for NFL teams. That is a breakthrough that could have the biggest positive impact on the NFL season going off without a major issue.
For the most part, everything related to coronavirus and the playing of the NFL season on time and in its entirety has been positive. There might not be fans in the stands for games, and there should be trepidation about what happens if there is an outbreak with one or more teams, but it has mostly been good news.
The latest news of player activations off the reserve/COVID-19 list and the small number of players going on it should give us all hope. Maybe the NFL can pull off a season as well as the NBA and NHL have.
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