nfl new season

The New NFL COVID-19 Vaccination Memo: Fair or Not?

Following the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL continues to encourage its players to get vaccinated without expressly demanding them to do so. Initially, unvaccinated players or team personnel will be subject to different individual protocols for the 2021 season than those who have been vaccinated. However, the recent NFL memo gained various reactions from players as it went harsher than expected.

According to reports, the memo makes it perfectly clear that the NFL will not add a 19th week to the schedule, and that if a game cannot be rescheduled within the 18-week window and thus must be cancelled due to an outbreak of unvaccinated players, the team or club involved will be required to forfeit the game. In addition, players on both teams would not be paid their weekly salaries if the game was cancelled.

The NFL Memo

Here are some of the precise language from the NFL memo: 

  • “Every club is obligated under the Constitution and Bylaws to have its team ready to play at the scheduled time and place. A failure to do so is deemed conduct detrimental. There is no right to postpone a game. Postponements will only occur if required by government authorities, medical experts, or at the Commissioner’s discretion.”
  • “In light of the substantial roster flexibility in place for the 2021 season, absent medical considerations, or government directives, games will not be postponed or rescheduled simply to avoid roster issues caused by injury or illness affecting multiple players, even within a position group.”
  • “If a game is cancelled/postponed because a club cannot play due to a Covid spike among or resulting from its non-vaccinated players/staff, then the burden of the cancellation or delay will fall on the club experiencing the Covid infection. We will seek to minimize the burden on the opposing club or clubs. If a club cannot play due to a Covid spike in vaccinated individuals, we will attempt to minimize the competitive and economic burden on both participating teams.”
  • “Whether to reschedule a postponed game will be dependent on health and safety reasons at the recommendation of medical experts as well as considerations of stadium availability, schedule integrity, fan convenience, and other appropriate matters.”
  • “If a game cannot be rescheduled within the current 18-week schedule and is cancelled due to a Covid outbreak among non-vaccinated players on one of the competing teams, the club with the outbreak will forfeit the contest and will be deemed to have played 16 games for purposes of draft, waiver priority, etc. For the purposes of playoff seeding, the forfeiting team will be credited with a loss and the other team will be credited with a win.”

The NFL Players’ Status

So far, at least half of the players on each of the 32 NFL clubs have been vaccinated. In the most recent report, 13 teams had reached or exceeded the 85% mark, allowing for relaxed masking, social distance, and other COVID-19 safety precautions in club venues and facilities. Furthermore, the NFL policy gained a lot of reaction from both the clubs and their respective players. One of which is Deandre Hopkins’ NFL memo comment (now deleted), which was an expression of his negative take on the new policy.

The now-deleted tweet read: “Never thought I would say this, But being in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the @nfl.” After deleting his initial tweet, he tweeted: “Freedom?”

deandre hopkins nfl
Courtesy of Houston Chronicle

Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey also gave his sentiment about the memo where he tweeted the following:” I know 2 people right now who got the vaccine but are covid positive… I’m just saying. I wouldn’t look at a teammate as bad if he don’t get the vax, no pressure from 5.”

Even though the policy does not require players to get vaccinated, it actually makes it more difficult for individuals who do not want to be vaccinated to avoid it. In order to avoid being cut in favour of someone who is vaccinated, marginal players and substitutes will consider long and hard about not being vaccinated. Fans and stadium staff will almost certainly want to be vaccinated as well, in order to avoid an outbreak that may force their team to forfeit. Team vaccination rates will undoubtedly be monitored by the multibillion-dollar football betting business.

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Quarterback/Coach Duos

The NFL Quarterback/Coach Duos in 2021

The NFL quarterback/coach duo rankings have been an interesting topic for competitive football fans. As players and coaches constantly evolve, new members were sure to join the list, and others were likely to leave. Some members, however, showed up in a greater way than originally anticipated.

In this article, we’ll bring you the top 10 quarterback/head coach duos in the NFL for 2021. If you don’t agree with the list, feel free to share your thoughts.

1. Tom Brady/Bruce Arians — Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady/Bruce Arians
Courtesy of Buckswire

The fact that Brady and Arians won the Super Bowl in their first season together makes their duo worthy of the top position. Not to mention,  Brady is the NFL’s second quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different clubs. He’s also the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl in each conference and the first player in NFL history to win a title in three separate decades. Arians became the oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl. He is the second-oldest head coach to win an NFL championship next to George Halas.

2. Patrick Mahomes/Andy Reid — Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes/Andy Reid
Courtesy of Chiefswire

Here’s one of the most talked-about duo online. With three AFC Championship Game appearances (in three complete seasons), two conference championship triumphs, and a win in Super Bowl LIV, the Chiefs have a 38-8 record in Mahomes’ 46 starts. Reid gets credit, too, since, in Mahomes’ 46 starts, the Chiefs have averaged 31.4 points per game, with 28 games scoring 30-plus points and eight games scoring 40-plus points. Having the most passing yards, passing touchdowns, greatest quarterback rating, and fewest interceptions in his first 46 games, Mahomes remains the youngest athlete to earn NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP.

3. Aaron Rodgers/Matt LaFleur — Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers/Matt LaFleur
Courtesy of Bleacher Report

There’s no denying that Rodgers’ remarkable success began when LaFleur took over as head coach back in 2019. Since LaFleur took charge, the Packers have gone 26-6, including back-to-back NFC Championship Game appearances. In his two seasons with LaFleur, Rodgers has been outstanding. Rodgers has the most touchdown passes and the smallest number of interceptions among quarterbacks with 750 passing attempts. He is also the only player with an interception percentage of under 1%. He also has the most victories in the league.

4. Russell Wilson/Pete Carroll — Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson/Pete Carroll
Courtesy of SBNATION

Peter Carroll decided to gave Russel Wilson a shot since Wilson was the early favourite to earn the league MVP award. However,  Wilson did not receive an MVP vote at the conclusion of the year despite having one of his greatest seasons. The Seahawks won 12 games for the first time since 2014 and won the NFC West for the first time since 2016, although they were eliminated from the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

5. Lamar Jackson/John Harbaugh — Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson/John Harbaugh
Courtesy of ESPN

At the age of 24 years old, Jackson is the third-youngest player to win a league MVP and a playoff game. Despite his 1-3 playoff record, he joined Colin Kaepernick as the only quarterback in NFL history to have two 100-yard rushing yard performances in the playoffs. Moreover, Harbaugh deserves a lot of credit for how far he’s come. Harbaugh has a career record of 140-86, making him one of just ten head coaches in NFL history to reach the playoffs nine times in his first 13 seasons.

6. Josh Allen/Sean McDermott — Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen/Sean McDermott
Courtesy of Buffalo Bills

Allen and McDermott proved how outstanding they were in 2020, especially given they are the highest-ranking combination without a championship-winning quarterback or head coach. The Bills made it to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 1993, and their 13-3 record was the greatest in team history. And even if he didn’t win the league’s top individual award, Allen’s accomplishments in 2020 were MVP-worthy.

7. Ryan Tannehill/Mike Vrabel — Tennessee Titans

Ryan Tannehill/Mike Vrabel
Courtesy Bleacher Report

Tannehill has done an outstanding job since taking over as the Titans’ starting in the midst of the 2019 season, establishing himself as a top-five quarterback in the league. The Tannehill/Vrabel duo is practically a certainty for the playoffs. This year, the Titans are projected to be in contention for their first Super Bowl trip since 1999.

8. Ben Roethlisberger/Mike Tomlin — Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger/Mike Tomlin
Courtesy of The Spun

Although a late-season downfall in which Pittsburgh lost five of its last six games after an 11-0 start, the Steelers quarterback/head coach tandem still had a fantastic year. And even though the Steelers have only gone 3-6 in the playoffs since 2011, Tomlin and Roethlisberger are given the respect it deserves due to their reputation. There aren’t many quarterback/head coach combinations that have won a Super Bowl.

9. Baker Mayfield/Kevin Stefenski — Cleveland Browns

Baker Mayfield/Kevin Stefenski
Courtesy of

Mayfield and Stefanski have only been together for a year, but they’ve already made it onto this list after bringing the Browns to their first postseason victory in 26 years. The Browns are rethinking how far Mayfield can carry this team after seeing how much he improved in his first season. With Mayfield and Stefanski, the Browns have a chance to go farther in the playoffs in year two, and they have a great chance to rise up this list.

10. Jimmy Garoppolo/Kyle Shanahan — San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo/Kyle Shanahan
Courtesy of SFGATE

Since the 49ers acquired Garoppolo in 2017, the quarterback and Shanahan have gone 22-8, earning the NFC West championship and going to Super Bowl LIV in their first full season together. Shanahan is only 35-45 as a head coach, with one winning season in four years, but it’s difficult to overlook his accomplishment when Garoppolo is on the field.


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Black NFL Player with head down

NFL Drops Racial Bias in Concussion Lawsuits

The NFL, America’s top-flight football league, will stop settling concussion claims based on a race-based formula. This formula assumes that black football players have lower cognitive function than white people. Moreover, they also promised to review previous brain injury suits that have been settled through “race norming.”

The Majority of NFL Retirees are Black

Two black NFL players have filed a civil rights lawsuit over the practice of race norming. This is a no-brainer because 57.5% of the prominent football league are black players. This means that more than half of NFL retirees are black. 

Moreover, although the judge tossed the civil lawsuit, there was still a call for a full report on the racial bias allegations. Race norming involves the football league comparing a given player’s cognitive test scores with a supposed norm for his demographic group. Through this methodology, there was an assumption that black players possess a lower level of cognitive function than the average white football player.

According to the University of California’s neurology professor, Katherine Possin, “That’s essentially systematic racism in determining these payouts.”

America’s Major Football League Faces Criticism

One of the retired black players involved in the litigation is Ken Jenkins. He said to the Hill, “This is classic systemic racism. Just because I’m Black, I wasn’t born with fewer brain cells.”

On the NFL’s part, they defended the practice in the past because it “relied on widely accepted and long-established cognitive tests and scoring methodologies”. The formula was first established in the 1990s and was used to make dementia payouts. However, critics state that the small sample of black people in San Diego used for the initial study did not fully represent the black people in today’s US. 

Furthermore, the football league insisted that the racial norming standard was not mandatory. They argued that the doctors participating in the compensation programme had the freedom to choose whether to apply it. However, many clinicians denied such claims. They said that the programme manual did not provide such flexibility.

NFL Pledges to Make Changes

The lead lawyer representing former NFL players in settlement negotiations is Christopher Seeger. Seeger apologized for his past comments that he had “not seen any evidence of racial bias” in the programme. He further stated that he regretted his “poor choice of words” and lack of “a full appreciation of the problem.”

It is also important to note that last year, the football league committed $250 million to social justice initiatives. Aside from that, you can also find slogans like” End Racism” in the end zones in its arenas. NFL players are also allowed to wear slogans on football gear and even to stand in moments of unity before the games.  

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