The first two weeks of the NFL season passed without incident. But this week has been anything but uneventful. We found out on early in the week that members of the Tennessee Titans had tested positive for COVID-19, and by Thursday their Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers had been postponed to a later date as the positive tests mounted. It was the first game to be affected by coronavirus this year.
Now, the New England Patriots have lost their starting quarterback due to a positive coronavirus test. News broke today that Cam Newton had tested positive, obviously meaning he won't be playing in tomorrow's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
It's certainly encouraging that nobody else has tested positive so far, but it's hard to see how anybody could justify playing a game tomorrow from the Patriots organization. It may take several days for an individual to test positive should they contract the virus. Right now, nobody in New England is testing positive, but that might not be the case on Monday.
It's worth mentioning the Atlanta Falcons had a rookie cornerback test positive last Saturday and still played their game on Sunday with no consequences that we're currently aware of. So in theory, if all tests are negative, a game could still be played. But Newton probably interacted with a lot more people than a rookie corner.
It would be very, very risky to play tomorrow against Kansas City. Postponing that game on top of Steelers-Titans would not be the end of the world. It would make things difficult and complicated for all sorts of reasons going forward, but this is 2020, where everything is difficult and complicated.
UPDATE: News is now pouring in that the Patriots-Chiefs game will not be played on time, and as of right now the league is considering Monday or Tuesday instead. This is all obviously very dependent on if more positives come out of the Patriots camp over the next 24 hours.