NFL facing obstacles amongst COVID-19 pandemic

Maddie Morelli, Sports Editor

Professional sports organizations have been doing their best to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB have all created air-tight guidelines to keep their players and coaches protected from the virus. However, it still hasn’t proven to be enough. 

As of now, the only organization that has had zero COVID-19 cases is the NBA, as their season played out in a “bubble city” at the ESPN Worldwide of Sports down in Florida. And the organization that has seen the worst of it? The NFL. 

The pandemic has turned the football season upside down. With teams having players quarantined, testing positive, and practice facilities being shut down, teams have been scrambling to figure out how to take on these obstacles, with very little preparation. In fact, there have been some crazy stories to come out of this season. 

The NFL tests nearly 8,000 employees every week or “testing period,” not including the coaching staff, or players. Every single one of the NFL’s 32 teams has dealt with at least one case of COVID-19 at some point throughout this season. However, some teams have dealt with the worst of it. 

One of the biggest stories coming from the Denver Broncos NFL team. Entering week 12, every one of the Broncos quarterbacks was forced to quarantine, leaving them with no quarterback going into their game against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints were entering this game with an 8-2 record, making this a much tougher match than the Broncos had ever envisioned.  

The NFL refused to reschedule the game, forcing the Broncos to work with what they had. The Broncos weighed their options, before ultimately picking up a wide receiver from their practice squad by the name of Kendall Hinton. Hinton had potential, coming out of Wake Forest University. He was a starter as a freshman and coming out of high school, he was a good quarterback prospect. However, in college, Hinton had made the transition from quarterback to wide receiver. So, in his first game in the NFL, he was playing a position he had not played since high school. The Broncos ended up losing to the Saints 31-3, with Hinton completing one pass. 

 The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens game is another crazy story. They were scheduled to play on Thanksgiving night, however, this did not happen. It started when a few of the Ravens players tested positive, and the game was ultimately delayed until Sunday, November 29. Then the NFL determined that both teams needed to be tested before play, pushing the game back to Tuesday, December, 1. On Tuesday, the NFL shut down the Ravens practice facility. The NFL also ended up pushing the game back to Wednesday, December 2. With the Ravens missing a good chunk of their starting lineup, and the Steelers missing a few starters as well, the Steelers won 19-14. 

Overall, this season has an unreal feel. Teams are facing obstacles they have never even had to think about, but they are doing the best they can with what they have. The NFL has three more weeks of regular-season games before playoffs. It will be interesting to see if guidelines are updated, and how the rest of this season plays out.