The Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday that. they would be closing their facilities due to multiple COVID-19 positives. Yahoo Finance’s Dan Roberts joins The Final Round panel to break down what we can expect from the NFL season going forward.
MYLES UDLAND: All right well the NFL got through three weeks of its regular season. No hiccups until today. As of right now the Tennessee Titans and the Minnesota Vikings are both working from home as the Titans deal with an outbreak on their staff, three players, five coaches.
Dan Roberts, as of right now, it does seem that the NFL is going to try to not really do much with week four. I think I saw Schefter report in the last hour that maybe the Titans-Steelers game could move to Monday night this week. Things have gone pretty well for the league, but their whole plan sort of assumed that this would happen. And I guess now is kind of the gut check moment for the league.
DAN ROBERTS: Well, it's interesting Myles. You say their whole plan assumed this would happen. That's what you would assume. You would assume that a specific contingency plan was in place for if they have to cancel outright a game or reschedule it. But interestingly-- this was a few hours ago, maybe the situation has changed-- but the NFL told me there is no algorithm for when a game would need to be postponed. That was the statement in response to my question about what happens if you have to cancel the game.
So, unclear. You would think they have a very specific plan though, and you wonder how that will affect teams records if this game between the Titans and Steelers, which is the Titans next opponent, is canceled. Now, as you mentioned, both the Titans and then the Vikings as well-- because the Vikings just played the Titans-- can't go to their own team facilities until Saturday.
So if Sunday's game between the Titans and Steelers happens, the Titans won't have practiced in the few days leading up to it. So, of course, that might affect on the field play. The more interesting thing here, of course, to discuss, is the broader question of whether there might be more incidents like this as the NFL season goes on. And what the NFL will do about it.
You mentioned the Titans have eight positive cases right now. Only eight. That doesn't sound like cause for disaster. But I saw reports that, thanks to contact tracing, they have found 48 different people that had close contact with those eight people. You still might say that's not huge numbers, but it's interesting. You look over in college football. We've seen incidents galore with college football where programs say, oh we had this many positive cases and so we're isolating these kids. And yet, they have plowed onward. So kind of critics be damned.
I don't expect the NFL to-- to, you know, even do anything drastic even if you see more of these cases, more of these incidents. But this will be the litmus test. What's going to happen over the next few days with its plan for the Titans' next game, and then the Vikings as well. I mean, when this happened in Major League Baseball, there were a couple of teams that had to have like three games in a row canceled because of a number of cases.
And then, of course, if we want to mention the stock impact, what's interesting is DraftKings' stock, of course. We've discussed how headline driven that stock has been, and a lot of the other gaming names. Penn Gaming. Flutter, which is formerly Paddy Power, which of course owns FanDuel. Those names can rise or fall big in a day based on one headline like this. And sure enough, DraftKings' stock took an instant hit when this report of the Titans COVID 19 situation came out.
MYLES UDLAND: I-- I guess I'm surprised-- I guess I'll put it this way. I would not be surprised if the NFL said, we will just delay one week. Because here's what you noted from baseball. You can move-- you can play double headers, you can move the season around as they did.
In the NFL, like, if one team's schedule gets off, now you're going to be in a very unequal competitive situation where some teams are going to be playing 14 weeks in a row if they move the bye. Or some teams who didn't actually earn a bye would get one going into the playoffs if they have to tack a game on the first weekend of January or something like that.
And so I appreciate that the league would want to basically do nothing, unless. But it feels like with the Titans' facility closed until Saturday, unless is here. I mean, these guys are going to get off the field Sunday, fly home, and then walk right back in. We've already seen enough soft tissue injuries for everyone to be concerned. Just, it feels like the most prudent play would be, let's just take a breather. We'll contact trace everyone. It's probably fine and we'll move the whole season back a week.
DAN ROBERTS: Well that might be the most prudent solution. That doesn't mean it will happen. I don't see the entire slate of games moving a week. I don't see that happening. That would be pretty drastic. But I do think that you could see the Titans game and then maybe even the Vikings game just canceled outright.
You do make a good point that, with the season schedule as it is, how could you reschedule that game unless you've, you know, baked in time in between the end of the regular season and the postseason, which there might be. But the way the NFL works, I mean, you can't just-- it's not like baseball where you can just say, OK we'll do a double header next week. Or, you know, we'll have them play on Wednesday when previously they weren't going to have a game Wednesday. You can't make an NFL team play, you know, two games in a week. The most they have is the short week where you've got a Thursday team and then they play again the next Sunday.
But I will say, you know, the-- the idea that, you know, it would affect the entire, kind of, competitive landscape-- and by the way, Commissioner Goodell had announced the creation of a special committee before the start of this season to ensure competitive balance because of COVID-- the idea that it'll throw a bunch of things off if a game is just outright canceled, I don't necessarily think so. You know, I think if they cancel this Titans-Steelers game and they just say, that's it. Those two teams won't play each other and each of those teams will have just played one game fewer this season. We'll see how it goes.
But it is interesting, especially because these are two good teams. They're both 3-0. You know, this isn't Jags-Dolphins. So we'll see what happens with this game. But it's all-- it's all fascinating to watch, isn't it? I mean, MLB is about to enter its postseason. What, two months ago we didn't think Major League Baseball was going to get to have a season and they got through it. Maybe you could say they muddled through it. But here we are. We're about to see the baseball playoffs. So all very fascinating.
And of course the next question becomes-- there's already a big story today at the Journal about this-- well, will the Major League Baseball season next year get to have fans, and how many fans? So as we look forward, how much revenue is going to be lost by these leagues? These are questions they're all thinking about.