Opinion: Tennessee Titans COVID outbreak should not panic the NFL

The Tennessee Titans have been experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 since Sept. 28 and their week four game has been postponed. But that does not mean the NFL should be panicked yet. 

While this outbreak is definitely a cause of concern for the NFL, this is not the time to hit the panic button on the season. It seems that the NFL has gotten lucky so far, as only one team has seen an outbreak and the schedule was an easy fix. Right now, their plan should be to monitor the Titans, review their COVID protocols and continue the season as it has been.

According to The Tennessean, the first COVID blip in the NFL season began last Tuesday when the Tennessee Titans reported that three players and five personnel had tested positive for the virus. Both the Titans and their week three opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, immediately shut down their facilities as a sign of precaution. 

The Vikings went the next few days without any positive tests and have since reopened their facilities, but the Titans have been sent in a downward spiral. 

COVID cases have continued to climb for the Titans throughout the week. As of Sunday, a total of 20 players and personnel have tested positive, according to The Tennessean

The Titans’ upcoming game with the Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed. After originally postponing the game to Monday or Tuesday, the NFL decided to postpone the game to an entirely different week. 

After shuffling bye weeks, the Titans will now play the Steelers in week seven. The Steelers’ original week seven matchup with the Baltimore Ravens will be played in week eight.

Even if multiple teams are experiencing outbreaks, the NFL could still power through. In July, multiple teams in the MLB had to put their season on hold due to team outbreaks of COVID-19. Those stoppages resulted in many doubleheaders for those infected teams down the stretch. 

While the NFL cannot do doubleheaders, they have options in order to continue the season. If multiple teams experience a breakout, the NFL could push back the Super Bowl and insert “makeup” weeks at the end of the season for games that couldn’t easily be rescheduled. 

The problem with football is that it is a contact sport. Given that football is a contact sport, there is a real possibility that COVID-19 could run rampant through the league, putting the season in jeopardy. 

There is really no way to tell what this COVID outbreak in Tennessee could turn into for the NFL. It could very well just fizzle out, but it also has the potential to blow up the season. While the NFL does not have a need to panic yet, the outbreak is definitely something that they should watch closely and be prepared for any scenario that ensues.

Follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieTaris