A Case of the Mondays
Denver’s QB Emergency Isn’t Funny
As New Orleans rode to a 31–3 victory, the NFL has some thinking to do.
Cancel football. Cancel it now.
I intially argued for only cancelling college sports since college players aren’t paid. They shouldn’t be risking health and injury for our amusement with zero monetary reimbursement while ESPN, Fox, other networks, and NCAA executives make billions from the sideline. Professionals, on the other hand, do get paid (arguably too much) and have representation or leverage for negotiation.
But this season has been embarrassing.
In the first month of the college football season, the NCAA had cancelled or postponed 97 regulation games. Before the Big Ten actually took the field in October, 106 games had been cancelled. Last week, sixteen games were cancelled across college football. At one point, Minnesota had eight starters out with COVID-19 against Michigan, but per Big Ten rules, the game still went on.
College football is limping to the finish line, but so is the NFL.
Yesterday, the New Orleans Saints absolutely trashed the 4–7 Denver Broncos by a score of 31–3. Denver had zero eligible quarterbacks to dress and all four of them were out with Coronavirus after coming into contact with it and not wearing masks.
Denver’s interim QB was Kendall Hinton, the undrafted rookie receiver from Wake Forest. The last time he played QB full-time was in 2017. He was elevated from the Broncos’ practice squad to serve the team as their emergency QB. Previously, Denver asked the NFL if they could use entry-level staff member Rob Calabrese, who played QB for Central Florida from 2008–2012.
Apparently, stashing potential players on the coaching staff wasn’t going to happen.
Noah Fant grabbed Hinton’s only completion for 13 yards. It was a tight end screen in the third quarter. His next throw, unfortunately, was a little high and was intercepted by C.J. Gardner-Johnson.
Hinton went 1-for-9 for 13 yards and 2 interceptions. His final passer rating was 0.0.
Yet, the numbers tell an even heavier story: this was the NFL’s worst week for COVID-19. For the Broncos obviously, they were left without anyone at their most vital position after head coach Vic Fangio found out that Drew Lock, Blake Bortles, and Brett Rypien were ruled ineligible because they were said to be in close contact with Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for Coronavirus on Thursday. All four quarterbacks couldn’t play.
In the last week, 43 players were added to the COVID-19 reserve list — some after positive test results and some due to contact tracing.
Lamar Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald, Adam Thielen, DeForest Buckner, James Conner, Calais Campbell, and Mark Andrews were all added.
Even the Ravens-Steelers game, now going tomorrow (Tuesday) night in Pittsburgh, was rescheduled twice since it was originally the premiere game on Thanksgiving night, following the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys. The Ravens put 22 players on the COVID-19 list.
Why wasn’t the Broncos game postponed?
Some think it was punishment…Lock even acknowledged that the QBs “let our masking slip” during a meeting, which was a violation of pandemic protocols set by the NFL.
The Saints, who the Broncos played Sunday night, were just fined $500,000 and revoked of a seventh-round draft pick for violating protocols. This is the second fine the team received this season after paying out $350,000 earlier this season when head coach Sean Payton was seen on the sideline without a mask.
The Patriots were also fined this month — theirs $350,000 — for violations back in October by Cam Newton and other players. The league is investigating the Steelers, Ravens, and the Broncos.
This doesn’t even take into account the Titans and Raiders who had Coronavirus breakouts in the first month of the season. The Titans attended a team meeting after the league explicitly told them to stay home.
Sure, it’s easy to laugh at ESPN’s breaking news notification when they say “Denver doesn’t have a QB to play on Sunday,” but is it? After week 12 of the NFL’s season, it’s time to do something. Either postpone the league by 2–3 weeks, cancel the damn thing, or get your shit together.
It’s cool to say that the NFL has yet to cancel a game this year, but the audacity in some of these tweets is jaw-dropping.
Just get your shit together.