Sunday night football looks different in face of pandemic

With COVID-19 still looming, many sports programs have been forced to change their way of thinking. The NFL decided to adapt strict guidelines to ensure players had lower chances of contracting the virus. 

Many teams chose to keep fans out of the stadium altogether, while other teams allowed fans to watch the game at a much lower attendance capacity while remaining socially distanced. 

Some teams also issued wristbands to players that are used to track their vital signs during practice and keep track of who was in contact if any cases of COVID-19 were reported. 

Despite the NFL’s new safety guidelines this year, many games have been cancelled, moved, or rescheduled due to the virus. The Tennessee Titans have had one game cancelled and one game moved after several Titans players participated in a practice session that did not follow safety guidelines where several players contracted COVID-19. 

Another team that was affected by the virus was the New England Patriots, and while they didn’t break any guidelines, they still lost their starting quarterback to the virus and had to have a game moved. 

One question a lot of fans and teams alike have been asking is, what happens if a team who’s already had its bye week runs into a COVID-19 outbreak? Well, there are two possible scenarios, and neither have positive outcomes. One is that the NFL season is cancelled entirely (please, no!), and the other is that there could be extra weeks added onto the end of the year to make up for teams with multiple bye weeks, but having more than 17 weeks would be quite awkward, not to mention it would mess up players’ routines and the playoffs.

On a more lighthearted note, I find the official fake fan noise pumped into our TV for those of us at home (which is all of us for the teams that don’t allow fans) hilarious. It’s even funnier when there’s fake booing coming from the fans. It just cracks me up because no one’s actually booing but in reality it’s probably some guy in a booth guessing there would be booing.

Another issue, whether there’s no fans in the stands or a lower capacity, it makes it a lot easier on the offense as they do not have to drown out the crowd noise and are able to call plays easily. This in turn causes higher scoring games, and more troubles for the teams with worse defenses (cough cough, I’m looking at you, New York). 

All-in-all, I think the NFL has handled COVID-19 really well. I’ve enjoyed the season, and there haven’t been as many setbacks as I would have expected, and it hasn’t even affected Fantasy Football that much either. So, I guess we’ll meet again on Sunday, yes? Au revoir!