The NFL has sent a warning out to teams: If there’s a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated personnel on your roster, it could result in a forfeit if the game cannot be rescheduled.
The league made its firm stance clear on Thursday went it sent a memo out to teams. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the memo outlined the league’s procedure for dealing with games affected by COVID-19.
In short: If there’s an outbreak in your facility that resulted from an unvaccinated staffer or player, the league will not add an extra week to the season to make up the game. If the game cannot be rescheduled elsewhere in the 18-game schedule, that game will result in a forfeit loss for the team with the outbreak.
The forfeited game will count as a loss in terms of playoff seeding for the team with the outbreak and a win for the opposing team.
On top of that, a team with an outbreak among unvaccinated players/staff would also “be responsible for all additional expenses incurred by the opposing team.” Additionally, players for both teams will not receive their weekly salary,” per the memo.
However, the league did note that it will be more lenient if an outbreak stems from vaccinated personnel.
The New England Patriots were among the teams affected by the COVID-19 outbreak during the 2020 season. The Patriots’ Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, but was made up the following week, which was already a bye week for New England.
However, that was when the league was more forgiving in moving games around to accommodate outbreaks. If Thursday’s memo is any indication, there will be much less forgiveness this time around.
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