For the most part, the 2021 NFL season has largely avoided widespread COVID-19 outbreaks. That was not the case during the 2020 campaign when the pandemic was at its height.
Unfortunately, it seems as if the latter part of the regular season will be defined by COVID-19. On Monday alone, the NFL announced 37 new COVID-19 positive tests. You read that right. Thirty-seven.
There’s obviously going to be some widespread ramifications around the league. To start, Los Angeles Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list mere hours before they are to take on the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals on “Monday Night Football.”
The Miami Dolphins now have all three of their running backs on the list after Phillip Lindsay found himself placed into the protocols.
North of 95% of NFL players are currently vaccinated for COVID-19 — raising questions about both the league’s protocols and whether the new Omicron variant has a larger-scale impact on those fully vaccinated than other iterations of the virus.
From a practical standpoint, competitive balance could be impacted if the NFL continues to see widespread COVID-19 positives. As of right now, Aaron Rodgers is the highest-profile player to miss time due to the virus.
But as players get together with their families for the Christmas holiday and the New Year, there has to be growing concern about how competitive balance will be impacted. Monday’s news of 37 new positives adds another layer to his.