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The NFL continues despite postponed games and multiple players testing positive for the coronavirus

The NFL postponed two games over the weekend due to multiple players testing positive for COVID-19.

Why it matters: Instead of building a bubble to keep COVID-19 out, the NFL implemented protocols to prevent its spread. That put the onus on teams to be responsible — a risk that has been exposed just a month into the season.


  • Steelers at Titans: Moved to Week 7 (Oct. 25) after 20 members of the Titans' organization tested positive.
  • Patriots at Chiefs: Postponed to tonight (7:05pm ET, CBS) after Patriots QB Cam Newton and Chiefs practice squad QB Jordan Ta'amu tested positive.

Details: Though the Pats and Chiefs have thus far avoided an outbreak, the Titans' situation is far more dire given the sheer volume of positives, which included two before their Week 3 game against Minnesota (no Vikings have tested positive).

  • For six straight days, from Sept. 29 to Oct. 4, the Titans had at least one positive test, pushing the total to 20 (10 players, 10 personnel).
  • On Thursday, when that number had ballooned to 13, the NFL implemented enhanced safety protocols for exposed teams, including two tests per day and daily deep cleanings of team facilities.
  • Now, the NFL and NFLPA are investigating the Titans to determine the cause of the outbreak.

The big picture: The NFL's protocols are not all that dissimilar to MLB's, which makes this outbreak somewhat expected given the latter's early-season struggle to keep COVID out of the sport.

  • The good news: MLB successfully navigated two outbreaks soon after the season began (Marlins, Cardinals) by responding quickly and making necessary changes. They completed the regular season, and round two of the playoffs starts today.
  • Yes, but: While baseball is socially-distanced by nature, football is anything but. Plus, MLB implemented seven-inning doubleheaders to make up its missed games, but football is a brutally punishing sport, making rescheduling far more difficult.

Between the lines: The Chiefs are about to test the limits of a compressed schedule, as tonight's make-up game, plus their scheduled Thursday matchup in Week 6, means they're about to play three games in 11 days. Yikes.

Looking ahead: When the NFL floated mini-bubbles during the season's planning stage, players balked at the idea of living in hotels for four months; but given the current situation, it could reemerge as an option going forward.

  • A simpler solution might be teams increasing their vigilance like the Eagles just did on their trip to San Francisco.

The bottom line: It remains to be seen if the next step will be league or team mandated, but the speed and success of the response could determine what the rest of the season looks like.

Defense makes closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson opened his closing argument on Monday by reminding the jury that Derek Chauvin "does not have to prove his innocence."

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial is seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades.

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"Nine minutes and 29 seconds": Prosecutors begin closing arguments in Chauvin trial

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Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

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Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

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81% of S&P 500 companies have reported a positive earnings surprise for Q1

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

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NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hopping the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.

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All U.S. adults now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, meeting Biden's April 19 deadline

All 50 U.S. states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, have now made U.S. adults over the age of 16 eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, meeting President Biden's April 19 deadline.

Why it matters: The landmark speaks to the increased pace of the national vaccination campaign, but will increase pressure on the federal government, states and pharmaceutical companies to provide adequate vaccine supply and logistics.

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Minneapolis braces for a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial

Minneapolis is waking up to images of an occupied city on Monday, as the city and the world await a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

What it's like: Residents running errands, picking up dinner and heading to the dog park in recent days encountered heavily-armed National Guard troops stationed throughout the city.

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