NFL nixed Tom Brady, Bruce Arians bye week golf outing due to COVID-19


Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and his head coach Bruce Arians reportedly planned a multi-day bonding activity — a golf outing — during Week 13, Tampa Bay’s bye week. Maybe it was to spend time together to work things out after Arians has consistently called Brady out to the media. Or maybe it was to just strengthen their relationship, which could be totally fine, and have a little fun.

Either way, they didn’t get a chance to play a single hole. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the NFL stepped in to put a stop to it.

Outings prohibited by NFL protocol

The NFL isn’t trying to make sure Brady and Arians continue to have awkward moments in the media. (Though that seems like something they’d do, right?) This is all about health and safety.

The NFL’s intensive COVID-19 protocols specifically forbids teams or players from gathering with each other outside their team facility. While at first the intensive protocol was just for teams dealing with positive tests or exposure to a team with positive tests, that changed after Week 10. The NFL announced that starting with Week 11, all teams would be operating under the intensive protocol until the end of the season.

The NFL stopped Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Tom Brady from meeting up outside the team facility for a golf outing. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That brings up an important question: when did Brady and Arians plan this coach-QB bonding activity? We have no idea. It’s possible that it could have been planned in Week 10 or before, and then they just forgot about canceling it. Or maybe they forgot about the NFL’s intensive protocols and the prohibition on outside gatherings. It’s also possible they ignored the protocols and planned the outing anyway. It’s not hard to believe that about Brady, who defied Tampa regulations earlier this year and worked out in a public park.

Regardless of how the golf outing was planned, the NFL made sure it wouldn’t happen. Because it doesn’t matter how safe Brady and Arians might have been. COVID-19 can be passed before you even know you have it, before you start showing symptoms. To keep the team and the rest of the NFL safe, the NFL had to stop it.

So how did Brady spend the bye week? Rapoport says he spent the week examining his own film. That’s probably a better activity than possibly getting exposed to COVID-19.

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