NFL fans tuning in for FOX's morning show on Sunday saw a different setup. Regular hosts in Curt Menefee, Terry Bradshaw and Michael Strahan were swapped out due to COVID-19 concerns. In their place sat Reggie Bush, Charles Woodson and Chris Myers.
"In accordance with CDC guidance, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health safety guidelines — and out of an abundance of caution for our team — Sunday’s Fox NFL Kickoff and Fox NFL Sunday pregame show from our Los Angeles studio will not include their regular casts," Fox said in a statement. The network did not reveal whether any of the cast members had tested positive for the coronavirus.
With the FOX NFL, Sunday hosts not in the studio; it also meant that insider Jay Glazer would not appear. Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson has spent the entire season working remotely. Additionally, FOX NFL Kickoff did not include Charissa Thompson, Tony Gonzalez, Michael Vick, Dave Wannstedt and Colin Cowherd in the studio.
Sunday was not the first time FOX swapped out the hosts of a popular sports show due to coronavirus concerns. Fox Sports' college football pregame show Big Noon Kickoff also had similar circumstances arrive in November. This popular weekly preview show featured former college stars in Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and Brady Quinn, and former head coach Urban Meyer. Rob Stone hosted the program.
The NFL has taken major steps recently to limit the spread of coronavirus. The league issued a mandate on Wednesday. All 31 teams will have to finish out the season under intensive protocols. Additionally, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday would present new risks.
"Because we have a highly sophisticated program of daily testing, we know when the virus enters our facilities, which underscores the importance of contact tracing and other steps to minimize close contacts within a facility," Goodell said. "Recent experience has highlighted the importance of minimizing high-risk close contacts; on multiple occasions, we have seen individuals identified on that basis test positive within a short time. We have also seen many instances in which effective action by clubs to minimize these close contacts prevented the virus from spreading within the club and avoided players or coaches being ruled out of practice or games."
The league issued the mandate after several teams struggled with positive tests. The Las Vegas Raiders had multiple players land on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, while the Los Angeles Rams had their second positive of the season. Several other teams had similar concerns and had to place players on the shelf for at least one game.