NFL Moving Forward With Week 5 Schedule
The National Football League has already kicked off Week 5 with a Thursday night showdown between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears.
The league is expected to have another 14 games this weekend, but schedule changes have been made for the second straight week.
The New England Patriots were set to host the Denver Broncos on Sunday, but that game will now take place on Monday night. This is the second straight week that the league will have two games on Monday night.
The New England Patriots have had quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore test positive for COVID-19, and both players will miss this matchup. The rest of the team continues to test negative, which has led the league to push forward with this game. It is not the first time this season plans have been interrupted.
The Tennessee Titans game against the Buffalo Bills has been pushed back until Tuesday this week. The league is hoping that this game can take place, but there is a little more uncertainty surrounding this matchup.
Tennessee has been hit extremely hard by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two weeks, and the virus continues to spread. The league is investigating the Titans to see if health and safety protocols have been violated.
Last week, a matchup between the Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers was postponed until Week 7, forcing the two teams to have their bye week much earlier in the season. The league was then able to move the schedule around to allow for the Steelers and Baltimore Ravens to play in Week 8.
The New York Jets had a positive COVID-19 test on Friday morning, prompting the team to cancel all football activities. The team had that player retested, and it turned out to be a false positive.
New York is set to host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, and that game will go on as scheduled.
New Memo Sent to Teams
The NFL has sent out a memo to all 32 teams this week discussing the importance of wearing a mask while on the sideline. This particular memo specifically addresses wearing a mask while speaking to game officials.
According to the memo, officials have been authorized to issue unsportsmanlike conduct penalties if coaches or other team personnel remove or lower their masks to argue or discuss a call. These penalties will cost that team 15 yards if they are flagged.
The NFL Referees Association has made several complaints to the NFL about coaches not properly wearing masks when talking to officials. Officials must wear masks at all times unless they are announcing a penalty, and coaches are expected to do the same.
Perry Fewell, senior vice president of officiating administration, wrote the letter that was sent out to teams on Friday. He notes the potential risks that come to both officials and coaches when masks are not worn properly throughout a game, particularly when having close contact during a discussion.
The NFL has already fined five coaches $100,000 for not properly wearing masks during games, and each of those teams has been hit with a $250,000 fine.
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