The NFL season may be on the brink as positive coronavirus tests increase

Stephon Gilmore.
(Image credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The National Football League finds itself in a bind after more players from multiple different teams tested positive for the coronavirus this week.

Two more Tennessee Titans reportedly received positive results on Wednesday, bringing the number of infections in that locker room up to 22 and putting the 3-0 team in jeopardy of having a second consecutive game postponed. Meanwhile, Stephon Gilmore, a cornerback for the New England Patriots, tested positive Wednesday, as well. The Patriots, including Gilmore, played on Monday despite quarterback Cam Newton testing positive last week, which raises questions about whether they and their opponents, the Kansas City Chiefs, can play this coming Sunday. A player for the Las Vegas Raiders has also reportedly contracted the virus.

Gilmore's result, in particular, shows just how challenging the virus will be for the NFL. He had tested negative for three consecutive days prior to playing against the Chiefs, but the virus often isn't detected for a number of days after it infects a person. That means the Patriots, and perhaps the Chiefs, have to remain vigilant.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

As things stand, the NFL, which did not employ a bubble like the National Basketball Association, looks like it's going to forge ahead with the season, but the league may have to make a choice of how handle to the remaining schedule if positive tests pile up. The possibility of a season cancellation loomed over Major League Baseball early on after the Miami Marlins experienced a major clubhouse outbreak, as well. Those concerns ultimately faded, and the shortened 2020 MLB season was largely a success, but, as Defector notes, baseball games can be made up by foregoing scheduled off-days and playing double headers. The NFL, which operates on a one-game-per-week schedule, doesn't have that luxury. Read more at Defector and Yahoo.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.