The Big Brains at the NFL have wisely all but made sure that there will not be any canceled games or big disruptions for the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
The league and the player association mutually agreed that is no longer a need for mandatory testing for vaccinated players. However the NFL has also allowed for players to ‘volunteer’ to test for COVID-19, and, if positive, said player will not be subject to any COVID testing for 90-days…. or, the rest of the playoffs …
It is a move that the Eagles took full advantage of this weekend. It had 12 (very important) players test, and test positive for Covid. They sat in a meaningless game against the Cowboys and are now free and clear for the playoffs. Lane Johnson, Landon Dickerson, Derek Barnett, Darius Slay and other veterans got an extra week to rest, at no cost to playoff positioning but gained future flexibility.
The Titans and Packers, who both have a bye week, should and likely will take a page out of that playbook and encourage all vaccinated players to volunteer to be tested on Monday. If there is a positive, the player would have to miss only five days this week and could still return for full practice leading up to the Divisional Round game when the opponent will be known.
Clearly, the other upside of ‘voluntary testing’ is anyone who tests positive will carry an exemption through the rest of the playoffs.
Joining the Eagles, 80% of Buffalo’s starting offensive line are exempt. The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are in the clear, as they have a 90-day exemption from testing after their positives. So do Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Joe Mixon, among hundreds of others.
It is fvcking brilliant.
The NFL has testing set only on Mondays, and even if there are any positives, no players will have to miss any games, just the practices during the week given the five-day quarantine.
They will then be exempt from testing. Miss no time. And not impact games.
Yes, the unvaccinated will still test daily and that is a major worry *cough, Josh Allen, cough* … but if he can pop a positive today, he also passes through with the rest of the Bills.
It would be the worst possible scenario for the NFL to have a major talent miss a game — and so the league is making sure that won’t happen.
It also has two weeks built into Super Bowl week. Expect whichever two teams to make it pop a few positives the week before the big game, so they don’t have to test the following week of preparation.
It. Is. Brilliant.