8. Ryquell Armstead Should be a COVID Warning To Us All
Ryquell Armstead is 23 years old, stands 5’11 tall and weighs 220 pounds. You might say he’s in somewhat good shape. He’s exactly the type of person we’ve been told that COVID-19 should be no big deal for: young, healthy, and fit.
He’s been hospitalized twice, and is expected to miss the rest of the season due to COVID-19, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He’s reported to have experienced significant respiratory issues, and while there have been no specifics given on other complications, it should be concerning for all of us.
This is just another example of why everyone – including NFL players – need to take as many precautions as possible. That’s not a shot at Armstead, either, who may well have been simply unlucky to be infected and not at all careless. Hopefully the rest of his recovery goes smoothly and he has a bright future in the league ahead of him.
However, who knows what the long-term respiratory impacts will be? NFL players should remember that their health and their careers could be impacted severely by COVID-19. It’s no joke.
9. Is Cam Newton Struggling Due to COVID-19 Hangover?
Cam Newton was 62-of-91 (68%) for 714 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions through the first three games of the year. His passer rating was 89.7, and he’d rushed35 times for 149 yards and four touchdowns. He was averaging 288 yards of offense and two scores per game.
Then he was infected with COVID-19. After recovering, he’s gone 26-of-40 (65%) for 255 yards, no touchdowns and five interceptions. His passer rating in the last two games is 43.2, and he’s rushed 15 times for 95 yards and a score. He’s only averaging 175 yards of offense per game and 0.5 touchdowns per contest.
Is Cam experiencing a post-COVID hangover? It’s possible that it’s due to missed practice time or that it’s a coincidence. However, perhaps his energy isn’t all the way back or he’s experiencing lingering effects from COVID-19. The effects can include cognitive issues, which would certainly be problematic for a quarterback.
It bears watching going forward. Again, hopefully Newton is back to his usual self and there are no lasting impacts. Hopefully it’s just from missing some practice and being out of rhythm. But it’s concerning, especially as we head into a winter in which COVID-19 cases are expected to surge.
Speaking of which…
10. Could the Seasonality of COVID-19 Impact the Competitive Balance of the NFL?
It seems pretty reasonable to conclude that COVID-19 spreads faster in the winter. It may cause more severe infections in the winter, as well. The most obvious reason is that it’s harder to gather outdoors and stay socially distanced when it’s too cold for comfort outside. There are plenty of other medical reasons that haven’t yet been proven definitively, but experts have concerns. I’ll leave that to the scientists and doctors, and swing this back around to football.
If the spikes and outbreaks are, in fact, worse in the colder weather, does that put teams from northern locations at higher risk of dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak within their organization?
In the AFC, the Steelers (6-0), Chiefs (6-1), Ravens (5-1), Bills (5-2), Browns (5-2) and Colts (4-2) are all far enough north to be at more risk than teams like the Titans (5-2), Dolphins (3-3), and Raiders (3-3).
In the NFC, the Bears (5-1), Seahawks (5-1), and Packers (5-1) should all be at higher risk of problems than the Buccaneers (5-2), Cardinals (5-2), Rams (4-2), Saints (4-2) and 49ers (4-2).
Of course there are other variables that may be significant including humidity (higher relative humidity is good, dryness is bad) and local leadership (I won’t grab that third rail at the moment).
I would be shocked if COVID-19 is not a major storyline in the NFL in December, if not sooner, and warmer weather teams with good local leadership might be in the best position to avoid outbreaks.