The Aftermath of This Week’s NFL Coronavirus Disaster


AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Denver Broncos quarterback Kendall Hinton (2) throws against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Denver.

Chris Carr, Contributing Writer

With COVID-19 affecting nearly every single aspect of peoples’ lives today, professional sports leagues and teams have been forced to take extreme precautions or cancel and postpone games and seasons this year. For instance, the NBA season was delayed by Commissioner Adam Silver due to the NBA’s bubble in Orlando, Florida. Also, an already socially-distanced sport in Major League Baseball used masks and a shortened season to play relatively safe games. However, the physical, aggressive game of professional football has recently undergone a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Hingham High School sophomore Sam Peacock said, “the NFL is simply not doing enough to make playing games safe.” Sam’s point proved to be true as the NFL has been the most difficult sport to prevent cases because of the inevitable close contact between players. As a result, cases have steadily increased, with the Baltimore Ravens being forced to postpone their Thanksgiving game because of 12 COVID-19 infections within the team. 

Although the Ravens have had the most cases of any NFL team, the most interesting situation has appeared in Denver, where the Broncos were without a quarterback for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. On Saturday, the Broncos were informed that none of their three quarterbacks would be eligible to play in the next day’s game after one quarterback, Jeff Driskel, tested positive for COVID. Later, it was found that Driskel came into contact with other quarterbacks, Drew Lock and Blake Bortles. Because of the NFL’s protocols this year, the Broncos could not play any of their active quarterbacks and could not sign anyone new that would be eligible to play on Sunday. As a result, the Broncos desperately called up wide receiver Kendall Hinton from their practice squad, who had not played a full season of quarterback since his Freshman year at Wake Forest University. Throughout the game, Hinton only threw the ball nine times including only one completion and the Broncos relied heavily on running the ball through their backs, Royce Freeman, Melvin Gordon, and Phillip Lindsay. Denver ultimately lost the game to New Orleans 31-3, and their quarterback situation for next week’s game is currently up in the air. Sophomore Tommy Barnet said, “this result was expected, you can’t win a football game without a quarterback”. 

In other COVID news in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game was recently postponed for the third time last week, and the game was finally played Wednesday in Pittsburgh at 3:40 PM EST. Originally, this matchup was slotted for 8:30 PM on Thanksgiving night, which left many fans disappointed after its postponement. Aside from the Thanksgiving primetime spotlight, this game was also highly anticipated as these teams have been divisional rivals for a long time and both teams entered the season as favorites to win the AFC North. After excessive testing and safety protocols, both teams were able to play safely, with the Steelers taking a 19-14 win over Baltimore in a defensive-driven matchup. However, many fans were unable to watch this game due to its unusual timing at 3:40 PM, and this was the first NFL game played on a Wednesday since 2012.

In addition, Patriots fans are currently unhappy as their team has been fined $350,000, along with the New Orleans Saints, for not following the COVID-19 guidelines. The Saints were given a stricter punishment, as they were fined $500,000 and they were also stripped of a 7th round draft pick next year. As coronavirus cases increase, the NFL will enforce stricter punishments for more teams and players. The NFL has stated that they will continue to investigate more situations around the league, so more penalties will likely be handed down among many teams in the upcoming weeks. Overall, as much as Patriots and other fans will despise the National Football League for the punishments dealt to their teams, all teams, players, and fans need to understand the seriousness of the situation and proceed with extreme caution throughout the rest of the NFL season.