The NFL has been pretty strict about its COVID-19 policies, even going as far as fining teams for not abiding by the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. Last week was no different when the NFL decided to hand down $500,000 fine to New Orleans Saints for what they described as a, “maskless locker room celebration,” after their win over the Tampa Bay Bucaneers.
Although the leagues stance is clear about their COVID-19 protocols one thing doesn’t seem as clear. Since week four of the 2020 season the NFL has gone as far as postponing games as a result of COVID-19 cases in locker rooms, or within that orbit, however; this week the NFL took a much different stance in the case of the Denver Broncos.
The Denver Broncos found themselves in a very strange and infuriating situation that many believe was designed to make an example out of the Broncos for a situation that could have been prevented. Last Thursday backup Denver quarterback (QB) Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19. The remaining quarterbacks, including starting QB Drew Lock were all disqualified from Sunday’s game against the Saints due to their close proximity to Driskel the day before his positive test.
This placed the Broncos in a precarious position since delaying the game appeared to not be an option after the NFL denied the Broncos request for delay. A new rule that went into effect on October 17, prevented the Broncos from signing a quarterback before Sunday’s match because, that player would be required to quarantine for six days before being allowed to join the new team.
The Broncos even went as far as trying to activate assistant coach Rob Calabrese to server as quarterback in Sunday’s game before settling on Kendall Hinton. Hinton, a practice squad receiver had some time under center when he played for Wake Forest. Hinton with no experience as a QB and even little experience as a wide receiver in the NFL stepped up to plate and gave it his best.
No one expected for the Broncos to win, but there were football fans across the globe tuning in to see an undrafted free agent play professionally at such short notice.
The Broncos were nearly shut out and lost 31-3 in one of the leagues most embarrassing moments. Whatever the NFL was trying to accomplish by forcing the Denver Broncos to play with no available backup quarterback, they failed, when they decided to pick and choose which teams COVID-19 cases merit a postponed game.
Next week the Broncos travel to Kansas City to face the division leading Chiefs on Sunday night. Drew Lock is expected to play, however, Coach Fangio is still mulling the idea of punishing his quarterbacks for their relaxed version of the NFL protocols.