Here's why this news, if true, is so huge. According to NESN, the NFL protocols on this are as follows:
— Asymptomatic players can be reactivated once 10 days have passed since the initial positive test OR five days have passed since the initial positive test AND the player returns two consecutive negative PCR virus tests separated by 24 hours.
— Symptomatic players cannot return until at least 10 days have passed since the first COVID symptoms appeared AND at least 72 hours have passed since symptoms last occurred.
Here is that explained in handy flowchart form, so simple even a humble Patriots blogger can understand it. Ish.
I suppose I could sit here and expand this discussion to how Covid can be treated like it's the Great Plague of London. And the entire state of Massachusetts could still be shut down when a 31-year-old can contract it and be back at work to his highly physical job that brings him in close contact with dozens of other people in just five days. But I won't. Because even asking the question gets you pilloried in the village square. Massholes didn't just perfect the art of Witch Trials, we practically invented it. Besides, they just started to allow us to sit at bars again and increased the size of your group from six to 10, so I don't want to start an argument here. I just want to enjoy the good news and get my QB back.
So let's assume that this report is accurate. And based on Jay Glazer's track record, I'm assuming just that. Let's say Cam Newton turns out to be one of the very many people who contract this virus and wouldn't even know it if it hadn't been for the frequent testing because he feels fine. Which is not at all uncommon among young, healthy people. And human specimens don't come any healthier than Newton. Well if that's the case, and no one else on the team caught/catches it from him, than this is the very definition of catching a break. Not as lucky a break as if Newton didn't get it, obviously. But lucky nonetheless. At least from a football perspective.
Even if Newton tested negative and made the trip, this game at Kansas City was going to be an uphill climb. Last December, the Pats held Kansas City to the second lowest point total of the Patrick Mahomes era. And held Mahomes to his seventh lowest passer rating. And still lost. At home. In a game they desperately needed. Having Newton start would've made a win possible, but objectively speaking improbable. Having Brian Hoyer instead makes it less possible and less probable. That's the cold, unemotional truth.
Now we know Sony Michel, who was good for 117 yards and a ridiculous 13.0 YPA last week is out as well, making the hill that much steeper. You don't build and sustain a dynasty by conceding a game. (Except that one at the end of the 2005 season when Belichick had Matt Cassel throw a 2-point conversion attempt into the Minutemen so they'd face Jacksonville in the playoffs instead of Pittsburgh. That was a total concession.) They didn't concede in Week 1 of 2016 when they were 9.5 road underdogs at Arizona, and Jimmy Garoppolo won that game for them. But if ever you were going to concede a game, this would be the one.
The best case scenario, they find a way to pull it out with Brian Hoyer under center, in which case it's the best regular season win in Belichick's 21 years. Worst case scenario, they lose a game they were pretty much expected to lose. While Cam Newton is safely quarantining at home instead of 1) Possibly getting injured, and 2) Giving Kansas City a chance to face him. Instead, they won't get to see him in person until the playoffs. Then he's back for the Denver game next week followed by the bye and this franchise will have dodged a viral bullet.
Let's frigging hope. But then, hope hasn't really been paying off this year.