This week marked the first time in the 2020 regular season that the NFL has been forced to adapt its schedule due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Things were rolling along smoothly up until this week, when the Tennessee Titans saw a list of players and coaches test positive for the novel coronavirus, forcing the league's front office into scurried talks regarding potentially moving their matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers from this Sunday to either Monday evening -- as a doubleheader -- or even Tuesday. Instead, they chose to push it to later in the year, and both teams now know when that will be.
The Titans will face the Steelers on Oct. 25 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS, and the league will move the Steelers' matchup with the Baltimore Ravens from Week 7 to Week 8. The latter will take place Sunday, Nov. 1 on CBS, and both the Titans and Steelers are officially on a bye week this coming Sunday. The Ravens will move their bye from Week 8 to Week 7.
It's also unclear if the Titans will see complications with their scheduled Week 5 battle with the Buffalo Bills, with the former discovering three more positive tests for coronavirus in the last two days. The NFL is now sending investigators to Nashville to probe the issue before making further determinations.
The ramifications of what's happening in Nashville is also impacting the Minnesota Vikings, a team they landed a 31-30 victory over in Week 3. The good news for the Vikings is their have continually been zero positive tests since the discovery of the spread within the Titans clubhouse, and the former will visit Houston this weekend to take on the Texans as originally scheduled. For the Titans, the scrutiny will now level up to stratospheric heights under the watchful eye of Roger Goodell, who also sent scathing memos over the last several days to all 32 clubs that escalated rapidly from a forceful nudge to an outright threatening of punishment that would not only include substantial fines, but also potential loss of draft picks.
The league has already fined multiple coaches in September for not wearing a mask appropriately, or at all, to begin the season. With so many lives and livelihoods on the line this NFL season amidst the pandemic, the league is ready to drop the hammer on any who fail to follow COVID-19 protocol -- including the new rule that prohibits players from attending large social gatherings.
The NFL is doing all it can to prevent a situation similar to what occurred in the MLB's shortened season, when the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies were forced into cancelled games due to a lax attitude in prevention of the spread of COVID-19 that led to outbreaks in both organizations.
If that were to happen in the NFL, it could be disastrous for the sport.