NFL Postpones Titans Game After COVID Outbreak

Jack Meyer, Online Editor-in-Chief

After reporting multiple positive COVID-19 cases, the Tennessee Titans game this week was officially postponed. Their matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, originally slated for this Sunday, will likely be played in week seven, while the Steelers matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, previously slated for that week, will likely take place in week eight. 

Other teams reported cases this week as well, but only the Titans seemingly had an outbreak. New England Patriots starting quarterback Cam Newton tested positive, but the rest of the team tested negative, confirming only Newton had it. As a result, the Patriots’ game against the Kansas City Chiefs will now take place on Monday, and Newton will not play; Brian Hoyer will start in his place.

Meanwhile, New Orleans Saints fullback Michael Burton had a test come back positive on Saturday, but multiple retests confirmed he did not have it, and his initial test was a false positive. His teammates that sat next to him on the plane, including star running back Alvin Kamara, also tested negative, and the Saints Sunday matchup against the Detroit Lions went on as planned. 

While the Saints and Patriots avoided outbreaks, the Titans did not get as lucky. The Titans first reported a case on Sep. 24, when practice squad cornerback Greg Mabin was played on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The reserve/COVID-19 list allows teams to place players who either have COVID-19 or were in contact with someone who had it to remain away from team activities to avoid further spread. 

However, Mabin’s placement on the list apparently did not stop an outbreak; as of Oct. 4, 18 members of the Titans organization tested positive for COVID-19 nine players and nine team personnel. The Titans’ opponent in their prior matchup, the Minnesota Vikings, did not have any tests return positive, and returned to practice the Thursday after their game. 

While the Vikings returned to practice without any issues, it remains unclear when the Titans can return to practice, or even the playing field. The earliest Tennessee could return to their practice facility is Wednesday, assuming they have no more players or personnel test positive. If more members of the team continue to test positive in the coming days, their week five matchup against the Buffalo Bills may end up being postponed as well.

Asides from the Titans, the rest of the NFL has seemingly managed their COVID-19 protocols well, avoiding any further outbreaks. The league is currently reviewing if the Titans breached COVID-19 protocols, and the team will likely face punishments if any players or personnel did not follow the league’s rules. The Titans’ situation is still evolving, and will likely be worth keeping an eye on.