With just over a week until Super Bowl LV, it is now more important than ever for members of the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers avoid getting COVID-19, in any way possible. We're now beyond the point where a player can contract the coronavirus and still recover in time to play in next Sunday's game.
As we know, consistent testing is a great weapon against COVID-19 outbreaks. During this long lead-up to the Super Bowl, the league is now testing players from both teams twice a day.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler has confirmed with the league, that each player has a PCR test—the more sensitive version available–each morning. In the afternoon, they have a rapid test.
COVID-19 testing has its limitations. The virus can take a few days to be detected, it can evade either test (though the PCR is very effective), and the potential for asymptomatic spread is very concerning. It sounds like the NFL is doing everything it can to reduce the potential for outbreaks here.
The NFL and much of the media surrounding the league has actively celebrated how it managed to get through a full season without a game being canceled. That is true, though it certainly wasn't a seamless experience.
We saw multiple scheduling shake-ups due to outbreaks within certain teams. The Denver Broncos were forced to play a practice squad wide receiver at quarterback during a game due to a positive test in its quarterback room, and close contacts. We certainly have a true sense of normalcy this year by any stretch.
It has been good to have the NFL every week through the fall though, and it appears that we'll get to the Super Bowl as scheduled. The NFL was also able to use significant resources to do so, using over 954,000 tests and spending $100 million on COVID-19 protocols, something not afforded to sports like college football, which were even more hectic this year.
I think we can all agree that hopefully next season is as close to normal as it can possibly be, both for the NFL and society as a whole.
The Kansas City Chiefs kick off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the first team in NFL history to host the Super Bowl at their home stadium, at 6:30 p.m. next Sunday, February 7.