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Notes: A year later, how the NFL mitigated the pandemic in 2020

A look at just how the NFL was able to complete a season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Courtesy of Detroit Lions
Courtesy of Detroit Lions

Right now, your social media feeds are probably full of folks sharing what they were doing exactly one year ago.

For many, it’s hard to believe it’s been just about a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began and changed the world as we knew it.

It was on March 11, 2020, that the NBA officially suspended the 2019-20 season after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

This would be among the first dominos to fall in the sports world as leagues faced the uncertainty of it all. Next fell March Madness clink, baseball’s Opening Day clink, the Stanley Cup playoffs, clink.

Sports Illustrated’s Jenny Vrentas a reflection on the past year and specifically how the NFL, in the offseason when the pandemic first began, was able to go forward with the 2020 season. Going forward meant things like replacing in-person practices with virtual training, daily nasal swabs, wearing trackers that monitor the distance between people, and playing in almost empty stadiums with faux crowd noise:

A particularly interesting number from the article caught my eye: “The NFL is believed to have spent more than $100 million to implement infectious disease protocols, including administering nearly 1 million tests throughout the season,” Vrentas wrote.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert writes in another piece that only five of the NFL’s 256 regular-season games were postponed — and that was due to the NFL and NFL Players Association’s robust and effective infection control system.

“The overall league positivity rate of 0.076% since Aug. 1 — 726 infections among 959,860 tests on an average of about 7,500 employees per week — was far lower than the national average of 6.8% over a similar period,” he writes.

Seifert writes there’s a chance these efforts might have to be repeated in some form this upcoming season, read the rest of his piece here. And Vrentas goes more into depth on everything that took place in the last year in a powerful reflection on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the sports world, read that here.

And onto the rest of your notes.

  • Do the Lions have to draft a receiver at No. 7 now that the Lions let Kenny G walk? Nick Baumgardner at The Athletic has more. (Subscription required)
  • The Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett explains how draft prospects opting out of the 2020 college football season due to the pandemic have made evaluating players much trickier. (Subscription required)
  • Gather your youngin’s or enjoy it yourself—my favorite series is back with another hit: Chris Spielman reads Goodnight Moon to Celebrate National Reading Month.

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