As the NFL works not only to reduce the spread of COVID-19 between infected players but investigate potential team violations of COVID protocols, it's not out of the realm of possibility that the league could put a hold on the entire 2020 season. Asked Wednesday on NFL Network whether a temporary pause to the regular-season schedule is an option amid continued outbreak in Tennessee, as well as additional COVID cases in Las Vegas and New England, the NFL's chief medical officer confirmed as much.
"We've said all along every option's on the table," Allen Sills told Judy Battista. "We've never taken any option off the table, which includes some type of pause or reset or any other type of alternative arrangements."
Sills continued by saying that the NFL is currently focused on reviewing protocols and team-by-team situations while touting the research already compiled since the league instituted COVID standards during training camp.
"Let's also keep in mind we've got nine to 10 weeks of data now, with over 400,000 tests, and we've had about 83 positive cases," Sills said. "And in the overwhelming majority of those cases, we've not seen transmissions. We've only seen it occur now in Tennessee, and possibly in New England ... We've said all along, we know this is going to be hard. This virus is a relentless opponent, it needs only a small crack. And even 90 or 95 percent compliance with our protocols is not enough. That's not a passing grade, because it still leaves a bit vulnerable."
The schedule itself, of course, has become vulnerable in the wake of the latest positive tests, hence the earlier confirmation that a season pause might eventually be in order. Both the Titans and Patriots, who are battling multiple COVID cases, may or may not be able to take the field for their Week 5 games this weekend now that their facilities are closed.