The NFL knew the challenges it was facing when they decided to move forward with their season during a global pandemic which has plagued more than the sports world since mid-March.
However, the NFL has always had the luxury of time. While Major League Baseball, the NHL and NBA had to blaze their own trail in different ways, it was the NFL who could sit back and learn.
As the world learned more about the coronavirus, the NFL made adjustments.
While MLB fumbled their way through team outbreaks and games being postponed, the NFL made adjustments.
Have the adjustments worked? It might be too early to say their protocols are superior, and more effective, but so far so good. On the same day the league announced they will continue daily testing until September 6th, the initial COVID-19 test results were extremely impressive, and promising.
This per Kevin Seifert of ESPN:
.@NFL CMO Allen Sills reports initial COVID-19 test results:— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) August 12, 2020
109,075 total tests of all personnel through Tuesday. Overall, a 0.46% positivity rate.
That includes 9,983 people tested league-wide at start of training camp. 170 new positives (1.7%). 53 of 2,840 players (1.9%)
109,075 total tests of all personnel with a .46% positivity rate. This included 9,983 tested league-wide at the start of training camp. 170 new positive (1.7%) and 53 of 2,840 players (1.9%).
There are skeptics out there who still believe playing a full contact sport like football amidst a pandemic is not possible, and while there are still major hurdles to get over these initial results are promising.
Next week teams will start to ramp up their training camp practices, including full contact drills. To date, training camp practices have consisted of strength and conditioning, individual and group workouts and overall skill development. Just recently were players permitted to wear helmets during practice, and this is all a part of the league’s ramp up period to get players acclimated to the rigors of the game again. This after not being able to have physical minicamps and Organized Team Activities (OTAs).
There are those who will still take a wait-and-see approach to the NFL’s return, and that is their prerogative, but these early signs are promising. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the next phase of Training Camp.