After two consecutive days of negative COVID-19 tests, the Tennessee Titans were looking forward to opening their facility on Wednesday in preparation for their scheduled game against the Buffalo Bills this Sunday. That has now changed.
On Wednesday morning, two additional players on the Titans had tested positive for Covid-19. There were also two positive tests Thursday morning as well. This brings the total of positive COVID tests to 23 in the Titans organization. The Titans will now have their second game postponed due to positive COVID tests, with further doubt as to whether their rescheduled game against the Bills may even be played at all.
The NFL has been investigating the Titans after their positive tests following their Week 3 win against the Minnesota Vikings. The league had sent memos to both the Titans and Vikings to not have any in-person team workouts outside of their respective facilities.
Paul Kuharsky reported that some Titans players held a team workout at a high school on September 30th. The NFL explicitly informed the Titans not to hold any in-person events due their COVID outbreak. Nevertheless, we still don’t have a clear idea as to how there was the outbreak within the organization even began.
National reports suggest that the NFL and NFLPA are investigating mask usage and other violations in the Titans facility to determine the root cause.
If the NFL determines that the Titans did not follow protocol in the facility, coupled with the possible workout the players had on September 30th, there may be severe consequences.
The NFL has mentioned violations could result in fines and competitive discipline, such as forfeiting draft picks or games. The NFL would much rather punish a team monetarily than have them forfeit a game. However, if the NFL concludes the Titans clearly violated COVID-19 protocols, than it would be reasonable to consider having the Titans forfeit a game. There will be two opponents who will have suffered from the Tennessee Titans negligence; why should an opponent who follows Covid-19 protocols suffer from games being postponed?
I would expect the Titans to be fined significantly and possibly forfeit draft picks. It seems the NFL will shy away from having a team forfeit a game or more, given the complications in how other teams’ standings are affected.
The NFL wants games to be played and will do everything in their power to logistically postpone these games.