In a regular NFL season, the showdown between two undefeated teams in Week 5 will be a must-watch for soccer fans.
But this season is not normal, as evidenced by the fact that the Buffalo Bills (4-0) and Tennessee Titans (3-0) play in Nashville on Tuesday. It’s the first time in a decade, and only 3rd place in the last 74 yearsHe was playing a game that day of the week.
The decision to schedule a match that is usually a day out for most players was made to accommodate the first outbreak of the coronavirus in the league, which began nearly three weeks ago in the Titans’ locker room.
After Titans’ Week 4 match against Pittsburgh Steelers was postponed to October 25, this week’s league also pushed Sunday’s Titans-Bills match until Tuesday after more players and staff tested positive for the coronavirus. But the season played outside the so-called bubble is subject to the will of an unpredictable virus and the assurance that Tuesday’s match will be played on the grounds that there are no new positive test results from any team.
Uncertainty nibbling is the new normal this season as the NFL tries to finish its regular 256-game season in 17 weeks, giving broadcast partners – all preparing to bid on new long-term rights contracts next year – the content they crave.
So far, the league has the flexibility to move matches as it does with Titans-Steelers because, in five weeks, teams still have weeks of unused use. However, positive testing on the Titans and the New England Patriots this weekend led to a flurry of changes to the league table that affected half a dozen other teams.
Troy Vincent, executive vice president of soccer operations, told reporters on Tuesday that rescheduling matches will get more difficult as the season progresses as more teams will take advantage of weeks of farewell. He added that the owners and executives of the league had discussed adding Week 18 to accommodate the rescheduled matches in the future.
But for the time being, he said, we still have momentum, even if that means playing on Tuesday.
This imperative, as no game was foolproof until kick-off, turned the Bills-Titans match into not only a must-watch, but an example of scheduling play. Health and competitive concerns have to be considered, frantically, against the precariously balanced NFL calendar.
Vincent has praised the high-goalscoring matches and impressive comeback teams have also played so far this season. But Tuesday’s fans will be able to see if the virus has affected the quality of competition more clearly than any other game this season.
No team has had to deal with as much disruption as the Titans, who have reported twenty positive cases since late September, when they first shut down the team’s facilities after playing the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3. After they return to the league in person. One-day activities, the team closed its facility again on Sunday when another employee tested positive. The Titans were only allowed to train as a group for less than three days this month.
Fluctuating schedules have eroded the competitive equity that the NFL has declared it favors. During the recession, the league attempted to maintain a level playing field for teams in the midst of a pandemic that initially hit some parts of the country and overtook others. The league, for example, said that no team would be able to train until every team could.
However, while the Titans were sidelined, their opponents – the Steelers and Bills – continued to train together. The same was true of the Jets, who sent their players home last week for a day – after what turned out to be one false positive test – while their next opponents, Arizona Cardinals, were training.
Teams welcome additional days to practice and recover, but in most years, those days are scheduled, not the last minute pressure on teams. In fact, the bills were in wait pattern while the NFL assessed the outbreak in Nashville, frustrating players and coaches – creatures of routine at the best of times – wary of playing on a strange day.
This last-minute approach to scheduling wears off on players. To squeeze in Chiefs-Patriots on October 5, the league bent its own rules and allowed the Patriots to fly to Kansas City, in two separate planes, on match day.
The decision prompted Patriots defensive back Jason McCurty to question whether the league would be more interested in making sure such an outstanding game was played during prime time rather than ensuring players’ safety.
For the League and Players’ Union, McCurty said, “It’s not about our best interest, or our health and safety – it’s about,” What can we make in terms of protocol that looks good, looks good, and how do we get out there and play games? “
However, the league is showing no sign of slowing down. The NFL owners met Tuesday, and will again be on Wednesday, to discuss safety measures and potential penalties for violations. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the owners were told that the league “could never be satisfied.”
The League is considering heavy penalties along with fines levied on the Titans for violating the League’s safety protocols and bothering other teams. Last week, reports surfaced that several of the team’s players trained together outdoors while orders were issued not to hold in-person sessions.
The league said last week that teams that fail to abide by their rules could be fined, lose draft choices, and even forfeit matches if their actions affect other teams. Despite this, Gödel refused to say whether the Titans would be held accountable for the outbreak, which continues to ripple through the league. “It’s not about discipline – it’s about keeping our people safe,” said Goodell.
While the owners debated the merits of punishing Tennessee, the Giants rigged their roster ahead of Tuesday night’s match. On sunday, The team removed defender Daquan Jones and long snapper Bo Brinkley From the Reserve / Covid-19 list of players who have tested positive for the virus or who have been quarantined after close contact with an infected person. Seven other members of Titans’ active list of 53 men, as well as three players on the coaching team, are still on the list.
“Obviously we’re going to miss some players, but that’s the way we are,” Ryan said Tanhill said, the quarterback titans Saturday. “We didn’t choose this, but we are living in a pandemic and it happened.”
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