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#pounditThursday, September 29, 2022

Here is why Roger Goodell refused to postpone Broncos COVID game

Roger Goodell

The NFL seemed intent on making an example out of the Denver Broncos last year when several of the team’s quarterbacks were ruled ineligible for a game due to COVID-19 protocols. We now have a better idea of why the league’s handling of the situation seemed so ruthless.

As you may recall, the Broncos had to start practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback in Week 12 last season. They simply ran out of quarterbacks after Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 and Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, and Blake Bortles were all deemed close contacts. Rather than postpone the game by a few days, the NFL forced the Broncos to face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday as scheduled.

Why? Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times published a lengthy feature on Tuesday that examined the many challenges the NFL faced last season. In the story, he revealed that the NFL denied the Broncos’ request to postpone their game after league officials determined the Broncos tried to “fool the system.”

According to Farmer, surveillance footage revealed that Denver’s quarterbacks all removed their contact tracing devices and put them in four separate corners of the film room. They then sat close to one another while watching film.

John Elway was furious with the NFL. He admitted earlier this year that he hung up on the league office because he was so angry that the game was not postponed.

Later in the season, the Baltimore Ravens dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak and the NFL postponed their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Some players were angry that the NFL was flexible for the Ravens but not the Bronocs. The league said at the time that the decision was based on Denver’s COVID situation being more contained than the one with the Ravens. There was clearly more to the story than that.

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