New NFL policy states teams dealing with COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players could lead to forfeits


FILE – In this Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 file photo, NFL Logo is seen on the goal post padding before an NFL preseason football game between the Detroit Lions and the New York Jets at Ford Field in Detroit. The process of building the NFL schedule used to be a painstaking one with executives like Val Pinchbeck spending months slotting the games one by one on his board until there was a final product for the commissioner to approve. Making late tweaks or looking at alternative options with a big game moving from early to late in the season weren’t really possible for all the pieces of the complicated jigsaw puzzle to fit.(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski, File)

(WIVB) — Even with the postponements and rescheduling because of COVID-19 outbreaks among NFL teams, every game was played last year but if that can’t be accomplished this year, teams could face severe penalties.

The league made it clear it would not extend the season to accommodate a team that deals with a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players that causes a cancellation.

Commissioner Roger Goodell sent information for new policies in a memo Thursday stating that if a game cannot be rescheduled during the 18-week schedule because of a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team that is dealing with the outbreak will forfeit the game resulting in a loss.

Last season we saw the league go to extreme lengths to make up any and all games moved because of teams dealing with positive COVID cases such as playing a game on a Tuesday (like the Bills had to because of the Titans outbreak) or a Wednesday. The NFL might not go that far this season.

Heather Prusak is a sports reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2020. See more of her work here.

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