This has been a very challenging year for us all, but the National Football League has especially had some serious challenges while they attempt to put on as normal a season as possible.
Bubbles, masks, and social distancing have not been completely successful when it comes to keeping the Covid-19 virus at bay. Several times this season teams have had to cancel practices and even postpone games due to positive test results.
Not a week goes by that there are not reports of more players testing positive for the Covid-19 virus and are ineligible to play. To date, there have been over 130 players and personnel who have tested positive for the virus.
As a result the NFL has decided to expand the sidelines to aid teams when it comes to social distancing players, coaches, and sideline staff. The teams may now use the area between the 20 yard lines – that gives them 60 yards of space to aid in social distancing.
Mask wearing on the sideline…especially among the head coaches…has been an issue this season as well. The league has mandated that must wear masks before and after games; as well as, during halftime. While the players are not mandated to mask up; the league is “strongly encouraging” them to wear a mask when not on the field of play.
NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Stills said, “what we are trying to convey is masks can prevent you from becoming a high-risk contact, which is our goal, so it’s in everybody’s best interest to wear a mask for their protection and again to reduce exposure. We believe that the mask use whether it’s in the locker room, on the sideline, it just reduces your chance of becoming a high-risk contact should someone turn positive.” He added, “we’re trying to double down on high-risk, close contacts during game day so we’re asking our clubs to have their players wear masks on the sideline, in the locker room and we’re mandating it for the post-game interactions that might occur between teams because we think these are all vulnerable areas where we see contact occurring that could be high-risk contact.”