Patriots-Broncos should not happen this week if NFL learns its lesson

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 13: Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 13: Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Patriots’ matchup with Denver on Sunday simply should not happen if the NFL has learned its lesson after rushing into Pats-Chiefs in Week 4.

The NFL took a massively irresponsible gamble this past weekend when it decided to not reschedule Patriots-Chiefs to a later date after quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for the coronavirus just a day before the originally scheduled kickoff on Sunday.

Rather than have both teams serve their bye weeks to prevent a potential outbreak or further positive tests, the league went to great lengths to ensure the game wasn’t played later than Tuesday night.

Though players on both teams were given a handful of tests between Newton’s diagnosis and the time the Patriots departed for Kansas City, it generally takes multiple days to accurately determine whether somebody is a carrier of the virus. Taking that into consideration, it shouldn’t be entirely surprising that Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday morning, less than 48 hours after the team’s game versus the Chiefs.

If the NFL has learned anything about its reckless decision-making, it would cancel Pats-Broncos, with the teams scheduled to meet in Week 5, immediately.

This has to be the only way forward for the NFL. If Gilmore was diagnosed less than two days after the game, it’s very much in the realm of possibility that he was carrying COVID-19 while playing. The All-Pro corner clearly wasn’t aware of it at the time,  and likely didn’t take many precautions (if any) celebrating the win with his teammates.

Even still, do we really think he wasn’t in close proximity to other Patriots players between last night and when he tested positive on Wednesday morning? That’s not even considering the possibility of Gilmore carrying the virus while playing against the Chiefs.

Sure, Kansas City has had zero positive cases since Monday night, but this photo of Gilmore and Patrick Mahomes sharing a moment at midfield postgame should scare the living daylights out of every football fan who believes the NFL is playing a dangerous game.

The NFL has nothing but time on its hands, so it’s not like rescheduling games would present a world of problems. We know the league cares too much about its product and revenue to ever make the health and safety of players a top priority, right?

Well, maybe it should wake up and smell the coffee then, because if things continue down this path, the 2020 season as a whole could be in serious jeopardy. Canceling the Patriots-Broncos matchup on Sunday would go a long way in ensuring that doesn’t happen.