One of the most unforgettable moments of the 2020 NFL season came in Week 12, when FOUR quarterbacks being put in Covid protocols forced the Denver Broncos to start wide receiver Kendall Hinton at QB in one of the worst passing games in league history.
On that cold November afternoon, Hinton, who was chosen to play because he at least had some quarterbacking experience, went 1-of-9 for 13 yards and two interceptions. A magically terrible game that saw 22 percent of his passes end in turnovers, while only competing 11 percent to his own team.
Naturally the Broncos went on to lose 31-3, but we never really got a good sense of why the game led to this. Previously we’d seen games delayed or rescheduled when a team was wracked by Covid protocols to this degree, but here was Denver facing down an absolutely ludicrous scenario. Now we know why, and it’s stupider than you can ever possibly imagine.
The Los Angeles Times published a ranging story on the lengths the NFL went to in order to protect the 2020 season, and inside it came an aside about that Week 12 game.
“John Elway, Denver’s president of football operations, made several frustrated pleas to Goodell to postpone the Sunday game until Tuesday, when the quarterbacks would be available. The league denied those requests because surveillance video from Denver’s facility showed the quarterbacks had tried to fool the system. They had removed their contact-tracing devices and put them in the four corners of the meeting room, then they sat together to watch film. That close contact automatically made them ineligible to play.”
This is, without question, one of the stupidest things not only of the 2020 NFL season, but perhaps all time. The four Broncos quarterbacks, Drew Lock, Blake Bortles, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskell couldn’t handle sitting apart for a couple of hours, so with the decision making and planning skills of toddlers who’ve been told they can’t have dessert before dinner, went about devising a scheme so they could sit right next to each other and watch film.
Just let the monumental stupidity of this moment wash over you. This was in November, before there was a Covid vaccine, when there were already over 250,000 recorded deaths due to the virus. Every player in the NFL was aware the future of the season hung in the balance and relied on players doing their part to mask up, social distance and submit to testing. At 4-6 there was still a chance Denver could make the playoffs with a big push on the back-end of the season.
Then these four morons decided they were going to take off their monitoring systems, put them in the corners of the room, and “get one over” on the NFL, like teenagers passing notes when the teacher leaves the room. Naturally, they were too dumb to think about the fact there were surveillance cameras watching them, so they’d all get stuck in Covid protocols for breaking the rules — and the NFL wasn’t sympathetic to the team when they begged for the game to be delayed.
I mean, I can’t really blame them though. Lock, Bortles, Rypien and Driskell have combined across their careers to throw 105 interceptions, so decision making has never been their strong suit.
Honestly, I have nothing left to say about how dumb this is. No wonder the Broncos were desperate to replace Drew Lock this offseason. When you have a QB this dumb you can’t, nor should you move forward with them as the starter. Denver will use Teddy Bridgewater this season, then likely find someone in the draft who can follow the very most simple rules needed to protect his team.