NFL acts accordingly after minor outbreak


Jacob Collier

Graphic made by Jacob Collier

The NFL has done well keeping players safe from COVID-19, despite a minor outbreak in the first weeks of the season.

The NFL had a plan going into the 2020 season: mandate that each team create an Infectious Disease Emergency Response (IDER). Each team created different tiers with different levels of importance deciding what personnel can do and where they are allowed to go.

The NBA did their job, finishing with zero COVID-19 positive tests during their three month stay in the Orlando bubble, but the NFL decided a bubble wasn’t necessary.

This rationale coming even after the NBA bubble proved to work magnificently.

The NFL’s hope was to diminish the spread of COVID-19 by restricting access to certain areas, such as sidelines and locker rooms.

The league broke down players and personnel into three different tiers. Each tier has different levels of access to certain things. The league also placed a restriction on the amount of people allowed access into each tier.

Tier One consists of players, coaches, trainers and necessary personnel that the players need access to. Tier Two consists of general managers, assistant coaches, video personnel and security. Tier Three consists of operational personnel, media and broadcast personnel, field manager and transportation providers.  

The NFL is taking COVID-19 and their player safety seriously.

They fined coaches Vic Fangio, Pete Carroll, Kyle Shanahan, Sean Payton and Jon Gruden $100,000 for not wearing masks at their games.

More than 450,000 tests have been administered to players and personnel since August 1, according to

From Aug.1–Oct. 17, 47 players have tested positive for COVID-19. Seventy-one personnel have also tested positive for the virus.

Cam Newton, who was purchased in the offseason by the New England Patriots to replace Tom Brady as quarterback, is the predominant name on the list of positive cases.

A whopping 15 players on the Tennessee Titans tested positive for the virus forcing them to reschedule their Week 4 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have also had eight team personnel test positive.

The Titans also held an unauthorized workout before their planned Week 4 matchup when they were supposed to be quarantined after the outbreak which can lead to massive fines from the NFL in the near future.

The league is making sure players and personnel understand the seriousness of violating COVID-19 safety protocols. They have threatened teams with suspensions and the forfeiting of future draft picks.

The NFL buckled down, adding stricter testing protocols from Oct. 11–-17 to ensure another team outbreak didn’t take place. During that time:

  • 38,880 tests were given to a total of 7,799 players and team personnel.
  • 15,167 tests were given to 2,459 players.
  • 23,713 tests were given to 5,340 personnel.
  • Among those tests, eight players and 11 personnel tested positive for COVID-19.

Less than 1% of players and personnel tested positive. The NFL is proving that they can keep their players safe. 

At the end of the day, it is up to the players and personnel to be responsible and social distance for the remainder of the season.

Nick Despotakis can be reached at [email protected] or @nick__despo on Twitter.