By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
Saturday morning, we learned Cam Newton had tested positive for COVID-19, which led to Sunday’s Patriots-Chiefs game being postponed. Now, we’re getting details on when the two teams may finally meet.
According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the Patriots held a virtual team meeting Saturday night. During that meeting, they were told pending any new positive tests, the ‘current plan’ is to play the game on Monday.
This opens up a few challenges for the Patriots. First, there’s the issue of just getting to Kansas City. Reports have indicated the team’s facility will likely be shut down through Sunday, meaning they would have to travel to KC on the day of the game, probably going right from the airport to the stadium. Of course, that’s not ideal.
Then, of course, there’s the issue of the virus’ incubation period. Individuals can be contagious without feeling symptoms for testing positive for up to 14 days after first being infected. As we saw with the Tennessee Titans last week, one test hardly means an isolated incident. Tennessee had one coach test positive on Saturday, none on Sunday when they played their game, then an explosion of positives throughout the week.
Applying that timeline to the Patriots, they could all test negative on Sunday, then show up Monday morning, take the tests, and fly to Kansas City. Because the tests aren’t immediate, it’s possible they could learn of positives while in or on the way to Kansas City. At that point, the entire team has now been confined to an airplane for 3+ hours with numerous individuals carrying the virus, despite no positive tests when they left the facility.
Playing Tuesday could buy both sides (the Chiefs had a positive test Saturday as well, but of course don’t have the logistical issue of travel) more time, but would leave Kansas City playing three games in 10 days (Patriots Tuesday, Raiders Sunday, then the Bills next Thursday). Obviously, that’s a scenario KC wouldn’t be too thrilled about.
A lot can still change between now and Monday. As of now though, if everything goes well, the postponement of the most anticipated game of Week 4 doesn’t look like it will cost much more than 24 hours.