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After Major League Baseball removed Dodgers third basement Justin Turner from the final game of the World Series due to a positive COVID-19 test, the NFL acknowledged that it was “unlikely, but possible” that a similar event could transpire in the Super Bowl.
The remains the case. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the teams will submit to off-site PCR tests on Sunday, under the normal same-day protocols for night games. Results of those tests generally are obtained in the evening. It’s possible that the results will be returned during the game. And it’s possible that a player in the game will test positive.
Here’s what NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via email in late October, in response to questions inspired by the Justin Turner situation: “Game day tests for night games are conducted in mid- to late-morning. For the most part, it’s unlikely, but possible to get a result before or during the game.”
McCarthy added at the time that, if it happens, the player would be “immediately” removed from the game, and that he would be placed in an “isolation room” and prevented from joining in any post-game, on-field celebration.
Turner’s situation made waves because he somehow slipped through the cracks and returned to the field, celebrating with teammates and a cancer-surviving manager — while not wearing a mask.
According to the NFL, the Chiefs and Buccaneers players took rapid PCR tests on Saturday. All tests were negative.
Thus, while there’s currently no reason to believe that the NFL won’t get the final game of the 2020 season played without incident, the league won’t fully exhale until the first cannon of confetti is fired when Super Bowl LV ends.