FOXBOROUGH, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The NFL changed one of its rules due to the coronavirus pandemic, as it continues to take a toll on the league.
We knew the league had implemented plenty of COVID-19 protocols this season, but now this new rule could help teams who are left short-handed due to the pandemic.
The league established a rule that if a team loses a player to COVID-19 after their inactive list has already been turned in, the team will be allowed to activate another player.
On a normal game day, teams are required to send in their inactive list 90 minutes before kickoff, which means a team will be able to take advantage of this rule if a player is ruled out due to a positive test or close-contact after the inactive list has been turned in. At that point, the team will have 30 minutes before kickoff to replace their newly inactive player.
While this rule seemed pretty obvious to implement during a pandemic, the league failed to address a situation like this, ultimately affecting plenty of teams across the board unable to have other players active at the last second.
Although the NFL has made multiple rule changes this year, the league rarely makes any rule changes during the season that might impact game day protocols.
While the pandemic has been harsh on teams like the New England Patriots, forcing key players to miss games this season, the team is still focused on winning their final three games, starting with Miami on Sunday.
"As disappointing as Thursday was, we still have to realize we got three games left and nothing else matters other than what we do out there on the field, and that starts Sunday," Patriots player Devin McCourty said.
The Pats will travel to take on the Dolphins on Sunday and will return for their final two home games after Christmas, facing AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets after the new year.