The Denver Broncos lost to the New Orleans Saints 31-3 yesterday, but that score doesn’t really tell what happened. The Broncos went into the game with a huge disadvantage. Do you know the most important position on any NFL team? Yes, the Broncos didn’t have any yesterday. Not really. The starting quarterback in yesterday’s matchup was Kendall Hinton, a rookie wide receiver who signed with the Broncos as a practice squad player on November 3.
The Broncos didn’t have any quarterbacks yesterday because the entire quarterback staff was deactivated because of COVID-19. Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19, while Drew Lock, Blake Bortles, and Brett Rypien were deemed unavailable too because they had spent lots of time around Driskel without any of them wearing a face covering. In other words, breaking the NFL’s rules concerning the coronavirus and the pandemic it caused.
Why did the NFL treat the Denver Broncos so differently than they treated the Baltimore Ravens?
Instead of rescheduling the game as the NFL has so far done three times for the Baltimore Ravens, the NFL insisted the game go on as scheduled. The NFL, the league that claims to care about player safety, insisted a rookie wide receiver off the practice squad lineup behind center and cosplay as a quarterback. Considering how dangerous the quarterback position is for actual quarterbacks, players who have honed their quarterbacking skills for years, it’s surprising Driskel didn’t get severely maimed yesterday.
The last time I checked, the NFL was hot and heavy on the Black Lives Matters political movement this year. The NFL certainly did not care about Kendall Hinton’s black life yesterday.
Not all the blame can go to the NFL. The blame also goes to Jeff Driskel and the rest of the quarterbacks. The NFL and the rules put in place before the season started took all the guesswork out of how to comport yourself during a viral pandemic. All they had to do was follow the rules put in place. They refused to do that.
I also blame the Broncos organization. Instead of throwing Hinton to the wolves, I’d they even try to get another quarterback? Could they not find Colin Kaepernick’s phone number? It turns out, NFL rules would not allow the Broncos to bring in Colin Kaepernick. Sure. Any player brought in as a free agent must remain in a COVID-19 isolation tank for six days wearing nothing other than a diaper and a SCUBA dive belt before joining their new team.
When it became crystal clear the NFL was not going to reschedule the game like they’ve done repeatedly for the Ravens, they should have forfeited the game.
It’s not like the Broncos and their 4-6 record have any chance at going to the playoffs this year. The Broncos organization knew the game was going to end in defeat. There was zero chance the Broncos were going to win the game. If promoting a wide receiver from the practice squad to the starting quarterback worked, every other team in the National Copy League would be doing too.
I feel bad for Kendall Hinton. He didn’t deserve yesterday. He was set up for total failure. He’s not the one who disregarded the COVID-19 rules.