There is a mounting concern with the league office and NFLPA as well about the toll that Covid could take on the 2020 season, and growing internal pressure on everyone associated with the game to fully commit to all protocols and procedures.
While the NFL has not said much about it publically, the recent outbreak of Covid cases among Broncos staff and execs drew serious concern on Park Avenue and around the league. The league has continued to mount a campaign among non-players as well about the importance of adhering to all rules about limiting the number of people in any meetings, about social distancing and the need to wear PPEs.
"There is going to be a great amount of internal pressure throughout the rest of the season about doing the right thing," said one league source. "This isn't just about the players. This is also about the organizational side, the business side. The message is being sent that the season is on the line here.
"We are getting to the point in the season where, frankly, some teams know they aren't going anywhere. There isn't much to play for besides a paycheck and the league is going to remain vigilant about staying on them to do what we have to do to try to play this season. There is a natural tendency to let your guard down and say (forget it), I'm going to go to this party, or outing. And we can't have that.
"The (NFL)PA is fully on board with this. They are making a concerted effort to stay on the players and rely on veteran players exerting peer pressure in the locker room. It's going to take a coordinated effort and everyone knows it. Everyone wants to get to a Super Bowl, but will everyone do what we all have to do in order to get there? That's the fight."
Another league source said: "This is part of the reason why they decided in the end not to crush Tennessee (for their lack of compliance that fostered an outbreak). This is more about pressure than punishment. It's about trying to instill a mindset that will get us through this season."
The NFL has defied the odds and completed half of its season without having to make any weekly alterations to the schedule despite not being in a bubble. It is going to require even greater cooperation and compliance to maintain that posture into the postseason.