THE NFL HAS MADE IT CLEAR: CHAMPIONS GET VACCINATED
Almost a month ago, I wrote that the NFL should make sure that vaccinated teams have a huge competitive advantage in the upcoming season. Thursday morning, the league did just that, announcing that teams that can’t field a full roster on gameday could have their games forfeited, costing players and coaches gamechecks and possible playoff seeding.
While the NFL has given itself some leeway in re-scheduling, because, regardless of how it feels on any given day, we are still in the grips of a deadly global pandemic, one thing will absolutely, 100 percent, get your game forfeited; if your outbreak is among unvaccinated players.
That’s right. Just as N.C. State saw its national title hopes rightly end because of the selfish and stupid choices of a handful of their players, so will NFL teams see Super Bowl and playoff hopes dashed because grown men with at least a few years of college education decided to listen to internet rumors and ham faced idiots on television instead of doctors, scientists and educated experts.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley, already a member of the pro ventilator crowd was obviously defiant, still refusing to get vaccinated. Others, like star Arizona Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins tweeted (then deleted) that instead of taking a life-saving vaccine that could help keep him safe, his teammates and coaches safe and his community safe, he might just retire.
Leonard Fournette did the same, proclaiming and then sheepishly deleting that he would refuse the vaccine.
Which shows you a new dichotomy when it comes to NFL players and vaccine hesitancy. While it’s doubtful that Hopkins will retire, it’s not ridiculous that the Cardinals could look to trade him. That entire coaching and front office regime’s jobs are at stake and they play in the toughest division in the NFL. A COVID-19 outbreak derailing a playoff season for them could lead to a mass firing. They may not want to chance it.
Fournette, who is sitting on a one year deal with Bruce Arians’ Tampa Bay Buccaneers will 100 percent get cut. It’s probably why he deleted his tweet and is currently in hiding. Arians will not put up with that kind of nonsense and he’s sure as hell not going to let one of a platoon of running backs screw up a once-in-a-lifetime chance to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. Fournette’s days in Tampa are numbered.
And that’s the real reality of the situations. Teams will be looking at a players’ vaccine status when it comes to cutdowns. If you aren’t an elite player, a guy like Hopkins, you better get your shot or you’ll be working the grill at Fudrucker’s come September.
As for coaches and personnel, if the NFL deems you “tier 1,” you have no choice. You get the shot or you get walking. Already, as of Friday morning, offensive line coach Rick Dennison of the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots co-OL coach Cole Popovich have both been loaded up into the trebuchet and fired over the nearest castle wall.
On the same day the defending two-time AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs announced that not only did they have 100 percent compliance amongst their staff on vaccinations, 90 percent of their players had taken the shot. You know why?
Because CHAMPIONS GET VACCINATED.
There will be no fan restrictions this season. Stadiums will be full and communities, whether they should or not, won’t be locking down. If you made it through the last year without catching COVID-19, it’ll be way harder to miss it this year without the protection of the vaccine and with new variants popping up all the time, there’s no reason to risk it. Get the shot.
Vaccine hesitancy amongst NFL players is particularly stupid. We’re talking about people routinely cited for driving around with loaded uzis bouncing around in the back of their cars. How many times has an NFL player been busted for a PED only to claim they had no idea what they were ingesting when they took the banned substance?
Other guys are busted for recreational drugs bought off the streets in clear plastic bags. You’re going to tell me those players take particular care to check the ingredients of what goes into their bodies?
On top of that, every NFL player currently is taking dietary supplements that are not approved by the FDA. Hell, most of the NFL stars are publicly endorsing these supplements. Yet, they won’t take a vaccine that’s been proven safe by every medical institution on the planet and by the millions of people who have already taken it. Of which, I am happily one.
If players like Beasley and Hopkins do want to call it quits, that’s fine. We lose guys to retirement and injuries every year and there is a queue of potential NFL players that can encircle the Earth multiple times ready to take their jobs.
It’s already starting to affect teams. New York Giants rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney showed up, tested positive and is now in the NFL’s COVID protocol. His job is safe. A guy who won’t be safe is Jacksonville Jaguars backup QB Jake Luton, who showed up with the plague as well and is now isolated from teammates. Why would Urban Meyer, in his first season, put up with that kind of nonsense for a guy like Luton? In his first season? I would have already cut him.
Do you think the NFL had this kind of problem when they first asked everyone to wear helmets? Or facemasks? The stupidity is off the charts here.
The vaccinated teams, the safe teams are going to compete for the Vince Lombardi this season and that’s the most simple fact of all. If these same COVID rules were in place last season, it’s unlikely that the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans would have both made the playoffs. One, if not both of them, would have been watching at home.
According to the league, 14 teams have at least 85 percent of their players vaccinated, which is the goal. Those are the franchises playing for a title this year. The NFL should release the list to shame the every other franchise. (Also, to let the rest of us know who to lay our cash on).
As for the rest, get the shot. The math is simple. CHAMPIONS GET VACCINATED.
The NFL season begins on Thursday, Sep. 9 and the Week 1 Schedule is already up and taking bets at BetOnline.AG.