Two more Tennessee Titans players tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of COVID cases so far to 7 Titans’ players and six staff members. Although the Titans and Steelers game has been rescheduled, many football fans are unsure what this means for other teams. Yahoo Finance’s Dan Roberts joins The Final Round to discuss.
- All right. Let's turn our attention now back to what's going on in the NFL, where there is more bad news on the COVID front. Dan Roberts, we talked earlier this week about a couple of positive tests with the Tennessee Titans. They've had two more players test positive today, 13 members of the organization have now tested positive in total. And I think the issue, and Adam Schefter of ESPN said it earlier today, the issue now is what about their next game? Week Five? I mean, it's only nine days from now. And, as Jess outlined, Anjalee outlined earlier in the show, just because people are testing negative, given that they've been exposed, which we imagine many members of the organization have been, doesn't mean they won't test positive inside of a five to even 14-day window.
- Well that's exactly right. And we talked about the impact of positive tests on politics right now in DC. We've talked about it on markets. We've talked about in various other areas of the economy. Well sports is another one where it has not gone away. And this is a stark reminder of that. Because all of the sports have sort of successfully, and you could debate that, now returned. Even college football, which a lot of people thought would not happen. We've got baseball in the postseason. And so you can kind of forget. And think, oh, sports has evaded it. But here we are with an outbreak on a team. And you mentioned that maybe even the Titans' next game against the Bills will be in jeopardy. Before we worry about that, we do have the news just a couple hours ago of the rescheduling of the Steelers-Titans game. That will now be Week Seven of the season. October 25. That was going to be the Titans' bye week. So the Steelers and Titans game that was canceled, I guess we should say postponed, is moved to October 25. And then the Steelers were going to play the Ravens that week. That game will be moved one week later to when the Steelers and Ravens had a bye. But what all this reminds you is, oof, I mean, maybe they even need to reschedule that further. Because if the teams continue to have positive cases, yeah, it runs into their next game. You know, the whole season, the whole schedule is a very, very tight jigsaw puzzle. You know, it's not like baseball. Where these teams are used to playing every single day. And even sometimes play doubleheaders, two games in one day. You can't just squeeze in an NFL game in the middle of the week. And also, as you mentioned, these players are supposed to isolate. So we'll be monitoring the situation. But obviously the larger story, and the interesting thing, is what happens if this happens with other teams? What happens if it happens with a slew of other teams? What does that mean for the NFL season? I don't think it's cause yet to freak out. And, you know, you see some people already jumping the gun and saying, oh, you know, might they cancel the whole season? They're not going to do that. I can tell you that. The NFL is not about to do that. I think, you know, there's almost nothing that could happen that would make the NFL do that. Partially because it has the money to test these players every single day. It's a luxury that these sports leagues have. Some onlookers have complained about that, and said that represents a real imbalance in, kind of, society right now. Which people get to have those daily tests. But also because the NFL, thanks to its huge revenue, can kind of enjoy a position where they just ignore the optics. I mean, critics be damned. You know? So it's a fascinating situation. We'll see how it develops. We'll see and hope that there aren't more cases on other teams. But I would caution people, you're not going to see the season affected in a large way.
- No, I don't think so. I think an interesting element, maybe the most interesting to me, is the way that you came into this season, and you said, oh, there will be players and coaches who would test positive. But clearly there is essentially no way to isolate those incidents. So teams went through camp, and there were mostly no positives, if you really think about it. Like six out of 100,000 tests or something like that. But it seems clear that there won't be, oh, Player X is out. It's going to take out the entire organization from playing for at least a week, if not more.
- Exactly. And there's just two more quick things I'd note that are interesting, as we discuss this. One was the Vikings had just played the Titans. And so the Vikings were told, don't go to your facility. And yet, still, no positives from the Vikings. Which is a good thing. It means that there likely wasn't person-to-person person spreading of the virus during the game. Which is interesting. Because that was something people were concerned about. Yeah, they're wearing helmets. But the helmets are open. They're on the field. You're right up close to guys. And then the second point that's interesting here, I think, is, you know, there is a sense right now, you watch what's happening, you go, oh, no. The NFL's worst nightmare. COVID outbreak. And the big headlines. Now I'm not downplaying the risk here, and kind of the scariness. But let's remember that actually when this happened in Major League Baseball, when MLB started its May season there was an outbreak on the Marlins. That team had two games canceled. And people said, oh, my god. This is a disaster. Well they got through it. You can argue that it wasn't successful. But MLB got through its regular season. Here we are. We're now at the MLB postseason. NFL is likely to do the same.