The NFL just released its COVID-19 protocol for the upcoming season. With 272 games on the schedule this year in 18 weeks, there is no room for error. So, the NFL has decided that games could be forfeited if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs among unvaccinated players.
COVID-19 Outbreaks And The NFL
The NFL is no stranger to COVID-19 outbreaks, having to reschedule and shuffle around games multiple times last year. But the NFL made it work somehow, without having to miss a single game in all 17 weeks of the regular season.
To prevent this from happening again, the NFL has decided that if games cannot be rescheduled due to an outbreak on the team, the team must forfeit the game and take the loss.
“We do not anticipate adding a ’19th week’ to accommodate games that cannot be rescheduled within the current 18 weeks of the regular season,” the memo from the NFL states.
In addition, the team responsible for the forfeit will also be responsible to cover all financial losses and could face disciplinary actions.
The memo states, “If a game is canceled/postponed because a club cannot play due to a Covid spike among or resulting from its non-vaccinated players/staff, then the burden of the cancellation or delay will fall on the club experiencing the Covid infection”.
The league hasn’t been quiet about its desire for all players to get vaccinated. Even though they will not require vaccines, there are clear restrictions and penalties in place for players who are not vaccinated. It is reported that over 75 percent of players have received at least one shot.
As for those players and staff members who have tested positive and have had the vaccine, they can return after they receive two negative tests two days in a row and are asymptomatic.
Players and staff who test positive and have not been vaccinated will need to be isolated for ten days.
The Impact On Your Sports Bets And Fantasy Football Roster
So, how will this new protocol in place impact sports betting and fantasy football?
Nothing official has been released. But we can only guess that a new disclaimer will be released by sportsbooks stating that forfeitures due to COVID-19 outbreaks will not be considered a loss. This means, you and other sports bettors will just receive your bet back.
As for fantasy football. It is going to be another stressful year. Outbreaks did impact games last year, making it difficult for fantasy football players to set their weekly rosters. The only good news is that you will most likely have plenty of notice to set a new roster and replace players who may not be playing due to forfeiture. The bad news is, you might be scrambling to make trades last minute to find a replacement player.
This is where your league commissioner may make some decisions on their own if the fantasy football apps don’t decide to take it into their own hands to develop rules.
There is still plenty of time to figure these things out as week 1 kickoffs on September 9. But you don’t need to wait that long to get some football back in your life. Teams started reporting to training camp this week and preseason kicks off soon, with the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers playing in the Hall of Fame Game on August 5.
Hopefully, more information regarding how sportsbooks and fantasy football leagues will handle these games will be released before the first game of the season where the Cowboys take on the reigning Super Bowl Champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 9.