- The Tennessee Titans have closed team facilities after three players and five personnel members tested positive for coronavirus.
- The Minnesota Vikings played the Titans on Sunday and have also closed their facility.
- Both teams have indicated that their Week 4 games might have to be rescheduled.
The big story today in the sports world was yet another subplot in the biggest news story of the year: the COVID-19 pandemic. In this case it was the NFL that had to deal with the implications of the coronavirus and the league is still trying to figure out how exactly to proceed.
The story has been covered in depth in a previous article but here are the pertinents: The Tennessee Titans have put a stop to in-person workouts after three players and five personnel members tested positive for the coronavirus. The Titans are now working with the league office to coordinate their response. In addition, the Titans’ Week 3 opponent–the Minnesota Vikings–have also closed facilities and suspended team activities ‘out of an abundance of caution’.
Later in the day on Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 teams reiterating the league’s policies and protocols dealing with COVID-19. The memo also explained what the NFL and the two teams involved were doing to deal with the current situation which includes isolating the players’ that tested positive and doing some contact tracing. Finally, Goodell gently reminded teams and players of their responsibilities which the NFL’s official website summarized as follows:
Goodell urged clubs to revisit “steps they have taken to minimize the number of close contacts, particularly while traveling and within position groups.” Teams also should review their procedures for free-agent visits, per the memo.
Goodell also reminded teams that due to the nature of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic it was to be expected that players and staff would test positive during the season.
Earlier in the day, the league intimated that rescheduling the Week 4 games between the Steelers/Titans and Vikings/Texans could be rescheduled. At this point, however, the NFL intends to play these games as scheduled. No official announcement will be made on Tuesday though I would imagine that the league will make a decision and announce it as soon as feasible.
BETTING IMPLICATIONS OF THE NFL’S CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
Other than further cementing the term ‘coronavirus protocol’ as part of the sports lexicon the implications of the Titans’ positive coronavirus tests have been minimal to this point. The original alert on the Don Best live odds screen reported the positive tests and the possibility of rescheduling the games involving the Titans and Vikings this weekend:
Sportsbooks around the country and the world took varying approaches in dealing with the news. Some books including The Borgata in Atlantic City took the game off the board. Borgata sportsbook director Thomas Gable told VSIN:
“We took the Titans down relatively soon after the announcement came down, and followed up with the Vikings when they announced no one could enter their practice facilities. We’ll put [the games] back up when we have some news, but with the uncertainty they’re going to be down for the time being.”
As of 8:00 PM Eastern on Tuesday night there are quite a few books that have put both the Vikings/Texans and Steelers/Titans back up. Initially, a few books including FanDuel took the Titans’ game off the board but left up the Vikings’ game. As of this time, books either have both games up or both games down. The books that have kept the games off the board are highly influential ones including Pinnacle offshore, the Westgate, Circa, Stations, Atlantis, Peppermill and Treasure Island in Nevada, theScore Bet in New Jersey and Colorado and the Monarch Black Hawk in Colorado.
If the game is rescheduled the house rules will determine how sportsbooks will deal with existing bets. Many books have stipulations that games must be played within a week of the scheduled date at the same location to be action. Otherwise, all bets are refunded.