NFL’s Recent Struggles with COVID-19

by Max Osias ’24

Source: USA Today

Published Dec. 19th, 2020

The NFL was doing extremely well (COVID-wise) until the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos both violated COVID-19 protocols, making many of their players ineligible to play. 

The Ravens situation started with a strength coach falling ill and still showing up to practice, while also not abiding by the mask and social distancing protocols. This coach would later be suspended. While the NFL is still investigating this situation, the Ravens could be looking at a $350,000 fine. 

All of this resulted in their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers being postponed to Wednesday. The Ravens also have to play without their star quarterback and other players. Ravens players were skeptical to play the game against the Steelers, and most of them did not want to play. In the end, they went through with the game and lost 19-14, although they were expected to lose as the Steelers had not lost a single game at that point. 

The Broncos had a tough time throwing the ball against the New Orleans Saints in week 12, mostly because they did not have a single eligible quarterback available. The problem first appeared when one of their backup quarterbacks, Jeff Driskel, tested positive for COVID-19. Before knowing that, all of their quarterbacks went to watch film without having their masks on. None of the other Bronco quarterbacks actually tested positive for the corona virus, but since they did not sustain the COVID-19 protocols, they were prohibited from playing. 

With this dreadful situation, the Broncos were forced to bring in Kendall Hinton, a rookie wide receiver who played quarterback to a limited extent at Wake Forest University. Many fans were unhappy that their game could not be postponed the way the Ravens’ game was. 

The Broncos lost 31-3 to the Saints. Kendall Hinton completed one pass out of nine and had two interceptions. Still, the statistics did not matter to Hinton’s teammates, who were very proud of him for taking on the challenge with less than 24 hours to prepare. 

Drew Lock, the Broncos’ starting quarterback, issued an apology to Broncos fans and the organization about their mishap. “In a controlled and social distanced area, we let our masks slip… An honest mistake, but one I will own.” Many fans forgave him and respected that he took ownership of his mistakes, but many others were still skeptical to let him off the hook. 

Criticism became so intense that his mom put out a statement about her son, stating that Drew Lock is a leader, has been taking the corona virus very seriously, and never meant to trouble the Broncos organization with his actions. Drew Lock and all the Broncos’ quarterbacks excluding Jeff Driskel were eligible for the next game against the Kansas City Chiefs. They ended up losing this game 22-16, but they did show a valiant effort and were up for a sizable chunk of the game. 

As Week 15 wraps up, things seem to be cooling down, but only time will tell. 

%d bloggers like this: