The NFL-Broncos quarterback situation: fiasco or justified?


The National Football League has come under fire recently for refusing to postpone the week 12 matchup between the Denver Broncos and the New Orleans Saints, while simultaneously postponing the Thanksgiving matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This comes after the Broncos’ four quarterbacks did not wear masks while watching film, and were subsequently ineligible to play. 

The team had no choice but to start their undrafted practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton as emergency quarterback.

Now, this is an absolutely terrible situation, but the way that the NFL handled it is worse. Adam Schefter explained on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown that the decision to not postpone the game was purely in order to contain the virus, and not for competitive reasons.

Covid-19 exposure was only limited to the Broncos’ quarterbacks, but in the case of the Ravens, they had positive COVID-19 tests trickle in almost every day in multiple positions.

After that, it’s the team’s responsibility to manage their roster.

Now this in theory is a very simple ruling for the NFL, but isn’t it a little unfair to force a team to play when all their quarterbacks are ineligible? It’s understandable that they want to put the safety of the players first, but it’s unusual when one team gets to rest and wait for all their players to be healthy while another has to be forced to play without what is arguably one of its most important players.

Also, I’m not saying this in order to make up excuses for the Broncos’ quarterbacks. They should face disciplinary actions for failing to abide by the NFL’s COVID-19 rules, but at the same time there is no need to make an example of the entire team. It ruins the professionalism and competitive aspect of the NFL that other football leagues have failed to replicate.

Even though the NFL’s decision had some understandable reasoning behind it, fans will interpret it as a double standard by the league and they will most likely have less and less trust in the organization.

Broncos safety Kareem Jackson expressed his frustration, saying, “[It’s] obviously disappointing. I’m not sure why it wasn’t moved. I have no clue… as a competitor, [it is] definitely frustrating. Obviously, it’s our guys’ fault for not wearing their masks, but at least maybe move the game to the next day or whenever so we’re given a fighting chance.” 

In the aftermath of the situation, the Broncos have made Blake Bortles their emergency quarantine quarterback. All four quarterbacks have also been fined.