NFL postpones Broncos-Patriots game indefinitely
The NFL has postponed the Denver-New England game indefinitely due to another positive coronavirus test with the Patriots
That game, originally scheduled for Sunday, had been moved to Monday night.
A person familiar with the situation says the Patriots have closed their facility again after the positive test result, while the Tennessee Titans announced they closed their facility Sunday morning after a staff member tested positive.
The latest result also endangers the Titans’ game with Buffalo (4-0) set for Tuesday night after it was moved from Sunday. Six games have been moved already as the league is in its fifth week of the schedule.
In addition to the games for Week 5, a person with direct knowledge of the planned changes to the overall NFL schedule tells The Associated Press that the Los Angeles Chargers will see the brunt of the alterations due to Monday’s Broncos-Patriots postponement. Five of Los Angeles’ next six scheduled weeks will change.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the changes have not been made public.
The Chargers will now have a bye after playing at New Orleans on Monday night instead of facing the Jets next Sunday. They will then host the Jaguars in Week 7, followed by a road game against the Broncos. Los Angeles then hosts the Raiders on Nov. 8 — the only game remaining in its scheduled spot — followed by a road game against Miami and then hosting the Jets.
The original order of the Chargers games was hosting the Jets, at the Dolphins, home for the Jaguars and Raiders, a bye week and at the Broncos.
There were no other positive COVID-19 tests Sunday.
The NFL rescheduled New England’s game for a second straight week after reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore tested positive. This latest positive result puts their outbreak at four, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither team announced the latest results.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio, in a memorable take on the outbreaks in the league, noted on a Zoom call that what is occurring with the Titans and Patriots could happen to anyone.
“But my message to them and to anybody is we were inconvenienced by this,” he said, “but it very easily could have been flipped around to where we had the positive tests and the Patriots were inconvenienced by it. So, I’m happy that the positive tests weren’t in our building.
“But I’m under no illusion that at some point we might have a positive test or two and be the cause of a game getting moved down the road. So, we’re all in this together, the entire league is.
“And in a weird way, I’m kind of happy to see some of this stuff happen because you see who the whiners are … and who can’t handle adversity. And I’m going to try hard that the Denver Broncos don’t fall into any of those categories.”
Fangio added that the NFL is considering several scenarios for when the Broncos will play New England.
The Titans last played Sept. 27 because of an outbreak that has now reached 24. They’ve already had a game with Pittsburgh first postponed, then rescheduled to Oct. 25. They sent out a statement saying they learned a staff member tested positive.
“We have temporarily closed our facility and are in communication with the league on the next steps,” the Titans said.
The Bears also had an issue, moving offensive lineman Badara Traore from their practice squad to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday.
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill addressed the uncertainty of the situation on Saturday.
“It was a roller coaster for sure,” he said. “Definitely the fact that we had guys with no symptoms testing positive and we had guys with full-blown symptoms getting consecutive negative tests on multiple days was really eye opening. Just the fact of we really don’t know.
“So, we have to treat everyone as if they have the virus. Unfortunately, really probably lost some faith in the testing system just through everything we’ve been through over the past week and a half. But we said that from the beginning that testing is not going to prevent the virus from being spread, it’s the way we handle ourselves with all the protocols and handle ourselves outside the building as well.”