Despite the possibility that positive tests will continue for the Patriots – and that one or more players could spread the virus on Monday – the NFL is currently planning to proceed with Monday night’s game between Denver and New England.
For now the the game is still in progress, selon Adam Schefter d’ESPN.
More player testing will take place today, and more will take place on Monday. If there are no other bright spots (or maybe even if there are), the game could move forward.
With the Patriots having a sixth week off, the Broncos having an eighth week off, and no easy way to reshuffle the schedules to allow the game to be made up, this could end up being the first game of the ‘week. 18 ”, if it is not played.
This situation presents the moment when the rubber meets the road for the NFL’s “next man up” approach to the virus and the reality that, with every new positive result, there may possibly be a next man. The incubation period creates a lag between exposure and positive, and it’s entirely possible that the last positive resulted from exposure to cornerback Stephon Gilmore on Monday (he tested positive on Tuesday), given that Gilmore was exposed to Newton the previous Friday, shortly before Newton learned that his PCR sample for that day was positive.
Gilmore tested negative last Monday. At some point between Monday and Tuesday, he turned positive – and started spreading the virus. The positive result collected on Saturday for a new player most likely came from exposure to Gilmore, either on the plane to Kansas City (if the player was on the plane with those who had been exposed to Cam Newton) or in the cramped locker room. in Kansas City, on the field or on the sideline Monday night, or on the plane back.
Whoever tested positive on Saturday may have exposed someone else. In four or five days, that person can test positive.
This is the heart of the problem of professional football in a pandemic. The incubation period associated with the testing technology creates a large ring hole that allows a chain of positives to meander through the process undetected. Or, more precisely, detected too late.
And that’s why only a home market bubble has a chance to end this, as it blocks the main avenue for players, coaches, and other staff to catch the virus away from the facility, which then light the fuse for others to grab.