I understand that it might sound silly, and that’s why it’s drawing all of the attention, but the recently-issued potential Gameday Protocols for the 2020 season including the barring of post-game jersey exchanges is reasonable. Yes, they will be smacking into each other for the prior three hours, give or take, but adding additional extraneous contact and exposure, literally giving somebody else a piece of clothing that likely just came in contact with dozens of people (and then bringing it home to your family) is not the greatest idea.
I just wanted to get that out of the way before discussing more meaningful bits of the protocols that Albert Breer shared on Twitter yesterday. For example, home teams will be required to stay in a team hotel for the night prior to the game, rather than players from the team reporting to work from their own homes.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 9, 2020
This is in IV. Protocols Governing The Stadium Environment, sub-section b.i.: “The Home Team will be required to stay at the team hotel the night prior to each game. All hotels must comply with the requirements set forth in the Team Travel Protocol and must provide parking for all players and essential staff segregated from the public”.
I would imagine that the hotels might not be doing a huge amount of business otherwise, so I don’t foresee any major issues with their being able to comply with this, quite frankly. Segregating the team into a controlled hotel environment the night before the game in particular helps minimize the risk of their final Covid-19 test of the week from being compromised through unaccounted for pre-game activity.
In the next sub-section, it lays out that both home and visiting teams must travel to the stadium via bus, and that the buses, of course, must comply with requirements that are laid out in the aforementioned travel protocol, which we don’t have. The bus arrivals will be staggered so that buses don’t unload separately.
In the third sub-section, it outlines that, where possible, the path to each team’s locker room “must be shut down by team and Stadium security to anyone other than the applicable group (Home or Visiting Team or Game Officials) arriving to the Stadium”.
In the event that completely shutting down the area is not possible, barriers must be put in place that would allow the aforementioned groups an uncontaminated path. Locker rooms will be sanitized before their arrival, before halftime, and then before the end of the game.
During the game, all non-players and coaches are required to wear masks, and those not on the field who are not required are strong encouraged to do so. All surfaces will be regularly cleaned throughout the game, and that includes the game ball.
On the field, players must maintain social distancing, simulating contact. If a defensive player would have reasonably made a tackle against a ballcarrier, the ballcarrier must comply by giving himself up. Quarterbacks rather than centers will hold the ball at the start of plays. Running plays are not allowed unless the quarterback runs to prevent cross-contamination. Passes thrown will be sanitized mid-air prior to its arrival to the intended target.
Only the final paragraph preceding this closing line is satire.