“Assistant coaches and members of the football staff should pay particular attention to ensuring that players remain separated while waiting to enter the game, as well as avoiding grouping or bunching,” the league said.
“It’s really a look at how we can expand that physical distancing on the sideline … the distancing and face masking are critical,” said Dawn Aponte, the NFL’s chief football administrative officer. “Every week we are learning something and trying to share best practices … with our clubs.”
The league also is offering an additional testing option for bus drivers retained by teams in the away city, prior to the team’s arrival.
The NFL has been particularly proactive in dealing with coaches who have not obeyed protocols — though such efforts might seem unsuccessful given how Panthers coach Matt Rhule and some assistants on Thursday night skirted those rules about properly wearing masks. Several coaches, including Pete Carroll and Jon Gruden, were fined $100,000 for not obeying the requirements, and teams have been fined $250,000 apiece for sideline issues.
“We do try to remain in constant communication with the clubs through memos, phone calls, conference calls, one-offs, trying to remind and educate,” Aponte said. “Everyone needs to lead by example. It is more so about trying to educate and get everyone to adhere to the face-covering protocol.”