Football Team

Rivera says thought of NFL pausing season has crossed his mind

Football Team

Week 12 of the 2020 NFL season is nearly in the books, but it was impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic perhaps more than any other week this year. 

Washington head coach Ron Rivera was asked on Monday if the thought of the league pausing the season has crossed his mind.

“Yeah, it has to be honest," Rivera said. "But we’ll see what happens. It’s one of those things that, if something happens and we have to pause for a week, well then it’s a bye week for everybody and then we pick up where we left off. I think that’s most certainly a doable thing if that’s what we have to do."

In what was supposed to be one of the NFL's most anticipated weeks of the season, coronavirus had a major impact on the league.

Over the past eight-plus days, the Ravens have placed nearly two dozen players on the reserve/COVID-19 list and had their matchup against Pittsburgh postponed three times.

The Broncos were forced to play an entire game on Sunday without a quarterback, as the whole position group was deemed high-risk close contacts to one positive player and ruled ineligible.

To cap the week off, the San Francisco 49ers can no longer play their home games at Levi's Stadium until at least Dec. 21 due to new Santa Clara County restrictions.

 

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The NFL has tightened up its safety protocols in recent weeks, but the league has given no indication that it plans to temporarily halt the 2020 season. 

Rivera is a believer in the league's protocols. Washington has had just one player added to the reserve/COVID-19 list since July.

"If you do things the right way, if you follow the protocols, you can get through these things," Rivera said. "I think that’s part of what we’re trying to show everybody is that by following the protocols, wearing the mask as much as you can, social distancing like you’re supposed to and then personal hygiene—maybe it helps."

In an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay, Rivera went into further detail on his support for the league's plan in place. The head coach said he hopes the NFL's protocols will allow the league to get through a season successfully and serve as an example for the rest of the country and world.

"If we can do it and do it successfully and do it because we follow the protocols very strictly, it just shows everybody that if you are vigilant, you can get through this," Rivera told Finlay. "We can, as the NFL, but we can, more importantly, as the United States. We can get through this. Hopefully we can be an example."

After watching the MLB successfully finish its season after dealing with multiple early-season outbreaks, Rivera hopes the NFL will be able to as well, especially for the fans. 

"Hopefully we can get through an entire season, the playoffs and have a Super Bowl for them," he said. "Because this has been hard on everybody."