Updated: Oct 16
The week 4 matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans has been delayed due to a COVID outbreak stemming from Tennessee. The testing after their previous game against the Minnesota Vikings revealed that 3 players and 5 staff members of the Titans had tested positive. Two days later on Tuesday a 4th Titan player tested positive. No players or staff for the Vikings tested positive.
This marks the first game of the NFL season to be altered due to COVID. The preseason predictions largely suspected the season would be drastically changed by week 3, so this is actually a pleasant surprise.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is assured the game will just be delayed by one extra day, and expects to play Monday. According to an NFL report, Mike Tomlin suggested there is a "strong possibility" that the game will be played on Monday.
The Vikings and Titans suspended all team activities, with the Vikings scheduled to open facilities on Thursday. The protocols in place for both teams are strict as the league had made its prevention and treatment efforts a top priority. This is entirely different from the NFL's first proposed plan to start the NFL season which neglected nearly all safety guidelines set by the experts the NFL themselves hired.
If this season continues with similar, independent hitches in its season, then it should be considered a striking success. Health experts believed the proper way to hold professional sports were to create a bubble, such as the NBA. The NFL has far looser policies regarding their players. The NBA has had zero cases inside the bubble, but if the NFL season can continue without a hitch then their viewers will certainly consider it a success.
There is one grave circumstance that can push the NFL into an uncomfortable sport: a death. If an NFL player died from COVID that they contracted during the NFL season, there's a good chance it will lead to player strikes and severe backlash from the fans. Let's hope the season continues unabated and that all players, coaches, and staff are safe and healthy.