The Tennessee Titans have had a long week. As of Sunday morning, they have had 18 new COVID-19 cases among their staff (9) and players (9). 20 total cases dating back to September 24. Consequently, their game with the Steelers was postponed until week seven.
It feels like that Vikings game was years ago, instead of only seven days. The Titans are 3-0, but it feels like they are 0-3 and the season is a wash.
That is a familiar feeling for Titans fans. Only this time, the hopeless feelings are due to a pandemic and not bad play on the field. It seems this virus has approached the Tennessee Titans with a gameplan to strategically attack some of the team’s best players.
Just to name a few, the Titans have added defensive linemen Jeffery Simmons and DaQuan Jones, wide receiver Adam Humphries, and cornerback Kristian Fulton, to the COVID list this week. It has even gone after long snapper Beau Brinkley, who’s an important piece to Brett Kern and Stephen Gostkowski’s success.
#Titans currently on the Covid List:
– Isaiah Wilson, OL*
– DaQuan Jones, DL
– Beau Brinkley, LS
– Kamalei Correa, OLB
– Kristian Fulton, CB
– Adam Humphries, WR
– Jeff Simmons, DL
– Tommy Hundson, TE
– Cam Batson, WR
– Greg Mabin, DB
*on Covid List for 4 weeks
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) October 3, 2020
*The player who tested positive Sunday morning as the 9th new player has not been made public yet.
As this outbreak occurs on the Tennessee Titans roster, and I have explored the curiosity of Twitter, it seems some of us have the same questions.
Who is patient zero?
Shane Bowen did not travel with the team to Minnesota and was placed into the NFL’s COVID protocol on Saturday. Ever since that news came upon us, all hell has broken loose within the Titans’ organization.
Then there was media members remembering a practice squad signing that directly led to the player going on the Covid/Reserve list the week leading up to the Vikings game, and before Bowen tested positive.
One thing that hasn’t been discussed a lot is the fact the #Titans signed DB Greg Mabin to their practice squad a week ago Monday. Then last Thursday he was placed on the COVID-reserve list. Shane Bowen’s positive test was taken on Friday. @NC5
— Steve Layman (@SteveLayman) October 1, 2020
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) September 30, 2020
Why are the Vikings without any cases?
I’ve seen Titans fans call it fishy that the Tennessee Titans have 18 new cases, with half being players who got a lot of playing time in Sunday’s win in Minnesota, and the Vikings have zero.
This could be great for the NFL if the Titans had players with the virus in the incubation phase play against the Vikings. This would show that playing a football game does not allow the virus to transmit from player to player due to “extended contact” being limited.
It’s wild but Dr. Bill Schaffner at Vandy said same thing this week, much bigger concern is the extended periods in close quarters (planes for example).
— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) October 3, 2020
It makes me wonder if the team came into contact with someone after the game that had the virus. A recent report came out about the bus driver of the team, but it didn’t seem like he is patient zero here.
A bus driver who drove the Tennessee Titans last weekend in Minnesota also drove MLB’s Houston Astros on their trip for a playoff series this week against the Twins, per sources.
After the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak surfaced, the Astros removed the driver.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 1, 2020
Did someone on the roster break protocol after the game? Was the plane ride home the biggest factor in the spread? The NFL sent in officials to investigate, so if the answer to either of those questions are yes, we will know soon enough.
Officials from the @NFL and @NFLPA were in Nashville Friday to investigate. If rules were broken by the Titans, the team needs to be punished. If no rules were broken, this is still severe wake up call for rest of the league. #Titans https://t.co/F1iR50cwBs
— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) October 3, 2020
Are the Titans in jeopardy of forfeiting their upcoming games?
With the cases steadily rising on the roster, and the Titans being the only team with this large of an outbreak, you have to wonder if the NFL will just make them forfeit.
With the Titans having positive tests on six straight days, the soonest they now could reopen their training facility would be Wednesday; they need consecutive clear days of testing before reopening. Tennessee scheduled to play Buffalo next Sunday.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 4, 2020
I doubt that’ll be the case unless this continues for way too long. It is more likely the team will have their upcoming game with Buffalo rescheduled until the end of the season, and Tennessee will just have a two-week bye.
Unless negligence is found here, and the Titans broke protocol, a forfeit would not be fair because you can’t really control the virus nor can you punish the Titans because of their inability to control it. Plus, the NFL wants every game to be played for TV revenue.
This is a really unusual circumstance, one we will look back on in the future and think of how wild 2020 was: a 3-0 start halted by a pandemic. I personally wish all of the Tennessee Titans staff and players well, and hope they can get back on the field as soon as possible and chase their dreams of winning a Super Bowl.
Featured image by Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports