With each passing week and every Bills blowout win, the belief is that the 2020 Buffalo Bills have a very legitimate shot to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl. Surprisingly, the Bills greatest threat to delivering a championship to the city of Buffalo is not quarterback prodigy Patrick Mahomes, it’s not Derrick Henry and the Titans rushing attack, it’s not Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, and it’s not even reigning MVP Lamar Jackson. I believe the Bills biggest threat to a Super Bowl is something that is 166 times smaller than the thickness of a piece of paper. Yes…I am talking about COVID-19.
It’s not inconceivable to think that the Coronavirus could prevent the Bills, or any team, from winning the Super Bowl this year. While the Bills have provided excellent escapism from the reality of 2020 for fans this fall, we must remember that at a drop of a hat, reality can strike once again. All it takes is one positive test and the player in question is shut down for 10 days while any player that is deemed to have had close contact is also mandated to quarantine and monitor for symptoms. As is suspected with tight end Tyler Kroft’s test from the end of last week, there is always the possibility of false-positives. Unfortunately for teams and players in those circumstances, the NFL has shown in their actions this year that they won’t wait around to get confirmation from a second positive test before sending a player home.
Aaron Rodgers, the man who brought us the simple phrase “RELAX” a few years ago gave us another gem on Sunday. After the game, Rodgers, who will most likely beat out Josh Allen for MVP, had simple advice for his team during their upcoming first-round bye: “Don’t get COVID.” Simple, but nothing could be more accurate. Because of the weight of the games that lie ahead, the anxiety around the daily testing in the NFL is sure to rise over the next month.
Out of the many traits that Sean McDermott has shown over his four seasons as Bills coach, his attention to detail and dedication to “the process” might be the Bills’ saving grace when it comes to avoiding the virus this postseason. Bills fans have to be confident that the head coach of the team is aware of what a positive test could do to his team. He was asked about it on Monday by John Scott of Spectrum News.
Sean McDermott, regarding COVID given higher stakes in playoffs
“We continue to talk about it, continue to educate ourselves on [more] things that we could be doing and trying to implement here…I continue to ask our staff and players to edit their habits, in a good way, to make sure they are being as safe as they possibly can.”
The NFL has shown that they will force teams to play games in the most desperate of situations. Earlier this year the Broncos were forced to play a game without a quarterback on the gameday roster. And just two weeks ago the Browns lost to the Jets because their entire wide receiver room was quarantined. Unless the Bills were playing the Dolphins every week, I do not like the long-term outlook of starting backups in the playoffs.
We know that this virus does not discriminate and that people can do all the right things and still have a close contact, get exposed, and be forced to quarantine. As this season has shown, it can happen to any team at any time. With all of this being said…does anyone want to help me dig a bunker under Bills Stadium for the team to live in for the next month? Grab your shovels!
*Author note – COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on communities and families all over the globe, bringing heartbreak and devastation to those who are impacted. I understand where football stands on the priority list of public health; this article was meant to speak to the impact that the virus can have on a football team and not meant to undermine the impact that the virus has had on people around the world.