Then the league rescheduled the sport once more, this time for Wednesday afternoon.
Why not play at night time, giving gamers who’ve barely practiced in current days extra time to organize, reducing their danger of damage? The scheduling choice hinged on tv, the league’s money cow. NBC, which can broadcast the sport, needed to stay with its plans to air the tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Heart throughout a two-hour prime-time particular.
On the West Coast, the league didn’t look any higher. The San Francisco 49ers will play their subsequent two residence video games on the Arizona Cardinals’ Stadium, close to Phoenix. That last-minute, jury-rigged plan happened after officers in Santa Clara County, Calif., the place the 49ers’ stadium is, properly determined to ban contact sports activities by means of late December in a bid to stem the virus surge wreaking havoc in giant elements of the state.
However there’s a drawback: State Farm Stadium is in Maricopa County, Ariz., which has had a mean day by day fee of 42.7 circumstances per 100,000 residents up to now week — effectively above the alarming fee of 29.5 circumstances per 100,000 residents in Santa Clara County.
The change of venues solely is smart for a league attempting to maintain a troubled season going, not from the standpoint of public well being.
The league was making issues up on the fly, the identical because it has executed all season. “It looks as if they didn’t have a plan for what to do as soon as folks began testing constructive,” mentioned Angela Rasmussen, a virologist on the Georgetown Heart for World Well being and Safety, once we spoke this week. “They’re kind of flying by the seat of their pants, attempting to determine find out how to truly end the season.”
Remaining on the present path is a idiot’s errand, added Eric Topol, a coronavirus professional and professor of molecular medication at Scripps Analysis. Making an attempt to play with out the good thing about an N.B.A.-style restricted surroundings, he mentioned “is an train not simply in futility, however in peril.”
It could be higher to pause the season now, retool the well being protocols and wait out the approaching storm. If the virus recedes to controllable ranges by the early a part of 2021, resume with a shortened playoff and a Tremendous Bowl — ditching the present plan to permit followers within the stands at that recreation.