Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford’s false positive COVID-19 test alarming

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford doesn’t have the coronavirus, despite the results of his initial test.  It’s a flawed system, and it’s precisely why the NFL needs to embrace a new return to play format.

Slight panic set in for Matthew Stafford and his family after the Detroit Lions claimed the franchise quarterback tested positive for COVID-19. The Lions placed Stafford along with a plethora of other players, including Kenny Golladay, T.J. Hockenson, and Justin Coleman on the COVID-19-IR list.

It was later determined that Stafford does not have and hasn’t had the coronavirus, it was what the league calls a ‘false positive test.’  What?

Kelly Stafford, the wife of the Detroit Lions starting quarterback, took to Instagram to blast the NFL for the families’ awful experience in the days waiting to be cleared.

This should sound an enormous alarm to the league officials.

If the testing is flawed, what happens when a player tests negative but are actually positive and head out onto the football field for a practice or a game and unknowingly infects everyone they’ve come in contact with?

What happens when a ‘false positive’ test occurs during the regular season forcing starting players to miss games, more importantly, starting quarterbacks?  Imagine a player like Patrick Mahomes missing a start due to a false test?  The league won’t stand for that, but unfortunately, it needs to happen to a player the league deems as a superstar, in turn, hurting the leagues’ ratings and pocketbook before they decide to adapt to a better format.  Imagine tuning in to watch Chad Henne or Matt Moore operate the Cheifs offense only to find out Mahomes had a false positive test.

It seems Roger Goodell is blind to the fact that implementing a bubble format is the way to go.  Take the dumpster fire of Major League Baseball, for example.  Rob Manfred’s return to play format has been atrocious.  Teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins have played a mere four or five games while having weeks off at a time trying to suppress the raging virus.

That while the NHL has successfully implemented two separate bubbles, and the NBA one.  There is no reason why the NFL can’t shorten their regular season, and execute four separate bubbles in a State like Texas and play games in all of the different stadiums the State has to offer.  There are plenty of facilities to separate the league across the State, allowing each franchise their own practice facility.

I don’t see a path where the NFL can move forward successfully with this current return to play format.

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The league will need accurate testing that displays results nearly immediately.  If players can be tested Sunday morning (game day) and be cleared before kickoff, it will be a great benefit moving forward and also help slow the spread.  I understand daily testing seems nearly impossible at this point, but that would be the most efficient way to go about things until the country is provided with a vaccine for this awful virus.