In you’re a Seahawks fan, feel free to be resentful.
Also feel free to do it quickly and quietly.
The world has yet another virus fire. Disruptions to sports schedules are a trifle.
How serious this global health re-wind becomes is yet unknowable. But the fact is, the NFL Friday chose to mitigate its immediate impact by postponing the Seahawks game in Los Angeles with the Rams from Sunday to Tuesday.
That is too bad. But with with 29 Rams on the covid/reserve list as of Friday, playing Sunday would have been a travesty.
Pete Carroll knows it. Privately hates it. But publicly, he has to ignore his feelings about yet another disruption in 2021.
“We are not going to let this affect us at all,” the Seahawks coach said Monday afternoon. “We have already jumped into our adjustment, and we are going to go and play on Tuesday instead of Sunday. That’s the only way we are going to look at the thing.”
The NFL also moved Saturday’s game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns to Monday. Another game scheduled for Sunday, Washington at Philadelphia, will join the Seahawks-Rams in playing at 4 p.m. PT Tuesday.
The NFL refused to cancel any games, but apparently agreed with the players union that postponements would better serve player safety.
As the spread of the omicron variant disrupts many sports schedules as well as plans of workers, travelers and health-care provider around the holidays, the NFL was adamant about not extending the regular season, but tried to come with a response that would put fewer practice-squad players in harm’s way.
In a statement, the NFL said, “The emergence of the Omicron variant is precisely the kind of change that warrants a flexible response.”
Nevertheless, the fact that the Seahawks have confined their covid episode to two players, WR Tyler Lockett and RB Alex Collins, yet must accommodate the Rams’ league-leading outbreak, is lost on no one, even if Carroll tried to dismiss it.
“That doesn’t have anything to with a competitive disadvantage, I don’t think,” he said. “We are trying to get as many guys to play as possible, but with the thought of looking after everybody and making the right decisions in the midst of this surge that we have seen in the league, in the country, and around the world.”
The larger issue is the consequence after the Tuesday game: A short week to recoup for a Sunday, Dec. 26 home game against the Chicago Bears.
“That’s a big concern,” he said. “Any time you play on Thursday (with three days rest), it’s a big burden on the players’ recovery time. It’s not what their bodies want to do. They are trained to have a whole week to recover, and they don’t get it.
“In that regard, if our game could be moved back to Monday, that could help us some. That would kind of get in the middle of next week as well. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I’m not a fan of that for the player’s sake.”
As Seahawks fans have learned, Carroll’s approach to psychology among high-performing athletes has paid dividends.
“It’s way more about attitude than it is about what you actually have to do,” he said. “If you can keep mentally clear, like we have done a really good job for a long time here, and not be overwhelmed by it, you can function better, make more of it, and handle it better.”
Regarding Lockett and Collins, Carroll said Lockett had a “tough day” Thursday, but both were improving, although neither has had a negative test yet, which is mandatory for a return to practice and games.
“We thought we had made it over a big proving moment, but symptoms showed up, and guys did the right thing.,” he said. “You get symptoms, we are supposed to check it out, and test just in case. Those guys tested positive after the symptoms.”
Carroll was asked whether, after making the entire operation hyper-vigilant over 20 months on covid protocols, he felt victimized.
“I can’t do anything about that,” he said. “I just wish nobody was getting sick.”