After a lot of premature stone-throwing from the national media over the past three weeks, the NFL and NFL Players Association concluded their review of the Titans COVID protocols, and found… no major violations, per Adam Schefter. The team was guilty of some lapses in mask discipline — something that we see on NFL sidelines every weekend — and the league admits some miscommunication with regards to the non-sanctioned off-site practices.
The “unprecedented” punishment and hammer that some thought (maybe wanted) the NFL to swing down on Tennessee? Not coming. As Schefter says in his tweet, the Titans may face an organizational fine, but there will be no docking of draft picks, no forfeits, no suspensions, no individual punishments, and no cancellation of the season.
Basically, the Titans are getting the same punishment that the Raiders got for having several players gathering mask-less at an indoor charity event a few weeks ago. That tells me that the NFL’s review found the team’s actual transgressions to be extremely minor.
Will that change the narrative of the renegade Titans ignoring all COVID protocols and hosting “illegal” practices that some in the national media ran with before the facts came back? No, probably not. Will it change the minds of Bills and Steelers fans who are still angry about not getting a free win out of another team’s misfortune? Almost certainly not.
Does any of that matter to the 5-0 Titans? It shouldn’t. As I wrote last week, they should be — and already are — using those takes as fuel for an us against the world mentality.
With just one player from the 53-man roster (MyCole Pruitt) still on the reserve/COVID list and the looming specter of a potential punishment from the league being eliminated, the Titans are close to finally putting this nightmare behind them, and that should be a massive relief for all involved.