After a week of uncertainty, it appears the NFL will only have to reschedule one Week 4 game.
The New England Patriots had no positive tests on Monday morning according to multiple reports, so they departed to the airport for a flight to Kansas City where they will play the Chiefs. Assuming no further issues between departure from Massachusetts and kickoff at 7:05 p.m. Eastern time, the Chiefs and Patriots will get their game in. The Chiefs reportedly had no more positive tests either.
Not that anyone will feel sorry for the Patriots, but it’s going to make for one long Monday.
Patriots have a long trip for a game
The Patriots planned to land in Kansas City at about 11 a.m. Central time, according to The MMQB’s Albert Breer. They also planned to leave after the game back to Boston. Figuring the game is about three hours, it will take some time for the team to pack up after the game and get to the airport for a flight that takes about two and a half hours, the Patriots will land back home probably after 2 a.m.
The Patriots are famous for being able to shove aside any distractions and play well during the Bill Belichick era, but this is an entirely new challenge.
NFL teams almost always fly in the day before a road game, land in the afternoon, have some time to relax before night meetings and then there’s a curfew. They typically want to be as well-rested as possible for the game the next day. The Patriots will be anything but rested after a few days of scrambling to get the game in.
In addition to all the travel challenges, New England will be without their starting quarterback, Cam Newton, who is on the COVID-19/reserve list. And they’ll be going up against the 3-0 defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
A unique challenge for the Patriots
There are other instances of teams having to battle unforeseen challenges to play. One of the most famous examples was the 2008 SEC men’s basketball tournament, in which a tornado caused damage to the Georgia Dome, which meant the University of Georgia had to win two games in one day to win the conference championship. The Bulldogs pulled that off to make the NCAA tournament.
Regardless if the Patriots get police escorts and chartered flights, it’s a long day. But everyone knew there would be disruptions to the season in some form due to COVID-19 and some teams would be put in an unfair spot. The Patriots just happened to be that team this week.
The good news is the news hasn’t been worse in terms of positive tests. The Tennessee Titans, who experienced an outbreak that caused a cancellation of their Week 4 game, had no more negative tests on Monday for the first time in a week according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Chiefs and Patriots are apparently going to play their game in Week 4 after plenty of uncertainty.
If the Patriots can win on Monday night, given all they had to go through just to play the game, it will be impressive. In some ways it’s an upset the game is happening at all.
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