In an effort to keep everyone involved healthy and to avoid a complete breakdown of NFL action before the playoffs even begin, the NFL front office has just issued a new set of strict guidelines for the league.

These are designed to avoid further contamination from the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to continue to wreak havoc on the US and almost the entire rest of the planet.  All teams are expected to follow the guidance without question.

Goodell Doubles Down On COVID-19 Rules

Using his power to issue large fines to players, coaches and teams, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has let it be known that he is not kidding, and that these protocols will be followed or there will be a heavy price to be paid.  The last things the NFL needs right now is to have to start canceling or postponing games because one team or the other has had one too many positive COVID-19 tests.

The NCAA college football scene is shrouded in doubt, as many teams are struggling with coronavirus contamination sending multiple players into quarantine, and stifling team spirit and determination to continue with what some already see as a lost season.

To avoid such a calamity in the NFL, the league has established new protocols that are to begin this Saturday, according to the memo from the league front office.  These new protocols will change the way the teams operate and hopefully prevent further infections to the players and coaching staff.

No Exceptions To Rules Permitted

The new rules include virtual team meetings as well as the wearing of masks by all players and staff at all times while at the facility, including during practice.

Requirements under the intensive protocols, which 28 of the league’s 32 teams have already experienced at some point this season, include virtual team meetings and the wearing of masks by all players and staff at all times while at the facility, including during practice.  And you can bet that Goodell and company will be watching for any violations of the new policy.

Goddell wrote in his COVID-19 memo, “It has been said many times that our 2020 season cannot be ‘normal’ because nothing about this year is normal.  Flexibility, and adaptability have been critical to our success to date and we must continue with that approach.”

The memo also states, “As we continue through the season, it will likely be necessary to take further steps to address broader conditions.”

Masks And Trackers Continue To Be The Norm

The new protocols also address contact tracing and the league is now requiring that everyone, all players and staff members, are now required to wear contact tracing devices while at team facilities and also while doing any traveling.  With this in place, the league, and the players union, can easily identify close contacts of each individual who has the misfortune to test positive for the COVID-19 virus.

These more intensive protocols require that all meetings be held virtually or in the largest possible indoor space, but that space must have been inspected and approved by both the NFL and the players union, the NFLPA.

Team cafeterias are to be set up for ‘grab-and-go’ meal service to keep close contact down to a minimum.  The quick in-and-out also applies to the team locker rooms with a 15-minute time limit imposed and allowing only a limited number of players in the locker rooms at one time.

The NFL is now using a league-approved Oakley helmet face shield that the players must use at all times, even on the practice field.  When the helmet is off, a league-approved face mask is then required for all players and staff.  If a player or staff member requires medical treatment, both he and the doctors must wear ‘double PPE’ during the session, which means wearing both the face shield and a mask during treatment.