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Positive COVID-19 Tests Cast Doubt Upon NFL Season in 2020

In each of the professional North American sports, owners and players are working to figure out just how to navigate their seasons amidst the global pandemic that has been raging in the US for several months.

The NBA and the NHL had to postpone games during their regular season, and they’d each typically be nearing the end of the playoffs right now. Major League Baseball was in spring training when the pandemic hit and forced them to postpone their opening day.

The NFL had to alter their draft format and haven’t been able to hold a practice this offseason, and theirs no guarantee that training camp, which would typically start in July, will begin on time.

On Sunday, the news came out that players from both the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans tested positive for COVID-19. Just as facilities were reopening around the league and testing will ramp up for teams across the NFL, other organizations will likely have players test positive for the virus as well.

Many states are beginning to see spiking numbers in positive cases and hospitalizations as a result of the virus, which will affect the NFL’s ability to start training camp on time. For the first time since the virus hit the United States, I have doubts that the season will begin on time.

Look across the country, and many states are seeing record highs. It may not lead to social distancing measures that took place in the initial wave of the viruses’ exposure, but it will have an impact on NFL teams being able to participate in practices. If training camp practices are unable to start on time, that will impact the preseason, likely leading to the cancellation of games.

If those practices are unable to start in a reasonable enough time to give the players time to prepare for the regular season, then regular-season games will be affected. The NFL prepared for the possibility that the NFL regular season is delayed by putting non-divisional games early in the season.

The Dallas Cowboys wouldn’t play a divisional game until week five, October 11, 2020, against the New York Giants. So, even if the regular-season schedule were delayed, the Cowboys would be able to play their six divisional games that will have the most significant impact on the NFC East and the NFC postseason.

These positive tests from the Cowboys and Texans don’t necessarily put the regular season in jeopardy. Still, if there are positive tests, there’s no telling how many NFL players have tested positive to this point. As teams begin to open their facilities and welcome players back, more tests will be conducted, and more positive tests will come.

Though young people with healthy immune systems aren’t as affected by the complications of COVID-19 as those who are older or immunocompromised, teams won’t willingly put their players, coaches, and front office personnel at risk if there are positive tests. Players will need to be quarantined upon positive tests, and there’s no telling how that would work in the regular season.

There is still so much that’s unknown about what is happening in our world, and the NFL looks like it’s going to be further impacted like the rest of the North American sports leagues. Major League Baseball is at a negotiation standstill. The NBA had a plan, but that seems to be falling apart. The NHL doesn’t sound like it’s going to get started any time soon.

While we want to be optimistic about the NFL resuming its offseason schedule or training camp on time, and starting the regular season with week one games, there’s still a lot for the league and their teams to figure out. Cases have spiked the last week in the United States, and if the positive cases and hospitalization rate doesn’t begin to decline, it’s hard to see how the NFL will be able to open their season on time.

What do you think?

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John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


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  1. The doctors at President Trump’s Covid 19 press conferences made it very clear that most people will eventually be infected . Social distancing ” lowers the curve” which means it spreads out new infected cases over time, it does not lower the eventual total who get infected in the end.
    Everyone needs to just come to grips that they will eventually be exposed and most will be infected . Even the development of a vaccine will not change that reality as vaccines only increase a person’s immune response to exposure , they are not magic shields against disease. Even vaccinated with a working vaccine , many will develop the illness at a lower level of debility. That is actually how vaccines work.
    So, expect to see many NFL players test positive because they are out in the population and everyone in the population is getting exposed. Exposure and a positive test is no reason to shut down the league or the world because the virus is at the stage of ‘community spread’ where the virus is carried by many in the community. Essentially, the curve was lowered as planned and now we all need to just deal with the reality that life has risk and there is a new illness out there. Until just a few decades ago, everyone lived every year as polio, measles and chicken pox came through. The world did not stop. Vaccines have not stopped those infections , just slowed them down. The world still has annual outbreaks . Covid 19 will be the same. Stopping the world at this stage has moved on as a useful plan
    Life contains a 100% chance of someday experiencing a fatal exposure to something noxious.
    Dont be stupid as that brings that noxious event much faster but living fearful is ironically a major risk for shortening your life.
    Let’s all appreciate life and that we all do the best for each other but there is no risk free living.

    • See…. That makes too much sense.
      As Denzel Washington said “you don’t watch the news you’re not informed. If you watch the news you’re misinformed.”. It’s easier to control ppl when they live in fear. Hopefully more people are waking up to the double standard and hypocrisy this country is being fed from the mainstream media.

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