The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs are the last two teams standing from the 2020 NFL season. Not only did both teams manage to win their respective conferences, but they also managed to successfully navigate the COVID-19 chaos all season.
However, neither team has made it across the finish line with Super Bowl 55 still looming just days away. The Chiefs had a big wake-up call on Monday when the team announced two players have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and are in jeopardy of missing the big game. The bigger question is — could there be more?
Kansas City Chiefs have relatively clean record through 2020
While the Kansas City Chiefs were putting together the best regular-season record in the NFL at 14-2, they were no different than any other team trying to avoid COVID-19 and at the very least minimize its effect on their lineup.
Compared to other teams, the Chiefs were largely unaffected by the pandemic as far as massive changes to their lineup were concerned. Wide receiver Mecole Hardeman was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list but didn’t miss any action as it occurred during the team’s bye week.
In addition to Hardeman, fullback Anthony Sherman, defensive tackle Chris Jones, right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, and left tackle Eric Fisher were all on the list at some point in the season.
Other teams experience major problems with COVID-19
While the Kansas City Chiefs were one of the model teams for the 2020 campaign with minimal disruption to their roster due to COVID-19, several other teams saw the virus dramatically disrupt their roster and schedule, with large numbers of players affected at the same time.
Early in the season, the Chiefs were directly affected by the pandemic when New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive and the game was delayed by a day.
The Baltimore Ravens suffered the most severe outbreak during the season with nearly two dozen players placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, including MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson. As a result of the outbreak, the Steelers’ contest against the Baltimore Ravens was postponed multiple times.
The Denver Broncos didn’t postpone any games but did have to play a game without a quarterback on the roster when Jeff Driskel tested positive and all the other quarterbacks on the roster were considered high-risk close contents and placed on the reserve list.
Kansas City Chiefs get bad news just days before Super Bowl
While the Kansas City Chiefs made it through the 2020 NFL season relatively unaffected by the pandemic, there’s still one final week to maintain that clean record. Unfortunately, Super Bowl week didn’t get off to a great start as two players have been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Chiefs announced on Monday that wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, who has 466 yards and three touchdowns, and backup center Daniel Kilgore, who started four times, have been placed on the list.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, both Robinson and Kilgore were reported as “close contacts,” which means if the players test negative for five consecutive days, they can return to action. In this case, they would be eligible to play in the Super Bowl.
If, however, they do at some point test positive, that ruins their chances of being available for the game and then raises the question if they had been in contact with other players and exposed them.
The 2020 NFL season will be remembered for a lot of great things, including Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes meeting in the Super Bowl. However, history will also undoubtedly reflect it as the season played during the middle of a worldwide pandemic. And hopefully, a pandemic that didn’t dramatically alter the Super Bowl outcome.