Unlike some, I actually commend the NFL for what it’s trying to do and the ways they’re trying to play a season in the covid era. You cannot have plans for every possible scenario, as there are just too many. A corona case made public on a Monday (6 days before game time, which is plenty of time to tweak the schedule) is different than a case made public on a Thursday (not enough time).
In baseball, teams took off an entire week if someone tested positive, and they simply made it up with an inordinate number of double headers. The NFL doesn’t have that luxury. Instead, they have an overly complex schedule that takes time to adjust.
They should have gone with an every-other-week schedule that I proposed some time ago. A bye week between each and every game. Still a 17-week schedule, but play it over 34 weeks. They can still do that. It’s not too late. Just cancel games the next two weeks for ALL teams, and have Week 5 pick up again on October 25. Everyone suffers…but everyone suffers equally.
There is a lot of talk about the Titans having to forfeit this weekend’s game. I’d be for that, except it gives an automatic free win the the Bills, who I hate more than the Jets and Patriots combined. It’s not fair to all the other AFC teams battling Buffalo for a wild card spot if you hand a free win to the Bills.
The latest news is that the Titans had an unsanctioned off-site practice last week when they were supposed to be quarantined. I’m all for punishment. But you don’t punish Team A by handing a free win to Team B. Take their draft picks away. Make them play in Europe all year. No home games. A lot of different options come to mind, but handing a victory to Buffalo is not among them.
And the punishment must be severe. When the Houston Astros were caught cheating, MLB punished them by….well, nothing. The manager resigned, and MLB felt that was good enough. No players were punished. The Astros laughed themselves all the way into the playoffs again. At least the Astros’s cheating took some brilliant creativity. It was genius. The Titans were just plain ignorant.
Another solution is that the game must go on. Every single Titan who tests negative is allowed to play Sunday. All the positives sit home. So maybe they have only 20 healthy players. Not my fault. Go raid the waiver wire and get yourself 30 undrafted free agents. Fast. You have 3 days and game time is approaching. That’s what essentially happened to New England. They lost a handful of players, and the league said, “Use substitutes. Game on. Period.” Yes, I understand having many positive players is different from a few, but it’s the same principle. Like during the strike days when teams fielded scab players. The game will not be canceled, so get out there and do your best with whoever you sign. (Oh, and I hope you learned your lesson about clandestine, unsanctioned practices, or this never would have happened).