There was no football in Foxborough this past weekend as the New England Patriots had their game against the Denver Broncos rescheduled to next Sunday after a fourth positive test within the Patriots organization. The game had previously been moved from Sunday afternoon to Monday following more positive tests earlier in the week.
The Patriots played a day later than scheduled last week against the Kansas City Chiefs after quarterback Cam Newton tested positive. The decision to still play the game after Newton’s test forced the Patriots to fly to Kansas City on the day of the game on two separate planes; one plane was for those who had come into close contact with Newton. Despite the precautions the virus spread and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore tested positive on Wednesday. Two more players have now joined Gilmore and Newton on the COVID-19 reserve list.
The league decided to close the Patriots facility on Wednesday and Thursday, but Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reportedly made the decision to remain closed on Friday. In an interview on WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni and Fauria Show Belichick was asked about the decision to close the facility.
“Everybody is the doing the best they can and we’re trying to make good decisions for the health and safety of everybody involved with the team,” noted Belichick.
The Patriots look to reopen the facilities for practice on Wednesday while Cam Newton hopes for two negative test results. Newton must remain asymptomatic and test negative twice before he is permitted to return.
The league has been forced to juggle multiple games as a result of multiple outbreaks among teams. The Patriots will now lose what would have been their bye week to fit in the Broncos matchup and the Broncos will have their week six game against the Miami Dolphins moved to accommodate the delay.
For this to work, the NFL has made numerous changes to the schedule that will be sure to aggravate the teams involved. The NFL seems to prefer this tango of moving parts needed to keep a 17-week season as opposed to adding a week to the end of the season for COVID-19 related makeup games. The result is multiple teams losing their scheduled bye weeks and a huge logistical shift for many organizations. If all goes well the Patriots will kick off against the Broncos on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.