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NFL coaches have learned their lesson on face masks

With the Las Vegas Raiders successfully delivered Kansas City Chiefs their first loss in 337 days, Jon Gruden sat down for the post game video conference looking like a Wild West outlaw.

“Can I take this off?” he politely asked his public relations man before slipping off his black bandana face mask.

Gruden wore the face covering properly in all but three of the 50 times he was shown on the CBS broadcast Sunday, and during two of those transgressions he quickly pulled it back over his nose.

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That was a 180-degree switch for Gruden, being of five NFL head coaches fined $100,000 last month for failing to follow the league’s protocol on wearing masks.

Also from last week against the Bills, Gruden was shown 20 more times violating the NFL’s coronavirus safety rules requiring noses and mouths to be covered than he was shown in compliance (19) with the COVID-19 mitigation measures.

The other coaches who were dinged — and their teams docked $250,000 — for shoddy mask also learned their expensive lessons.

They all started complying in Week 3, when Broncos coach Vic Fangio began donning a face shield like Andy Reid.

Saints coach Sean Payton was wearing his mask properly 32 of 35 times as being shown on the telecast last week against the Lions, while 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was 100% in compliance during the 35 times he was shown against Philadelphia.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had his mask worn last week against Miami for all but a handful of sideline shots. He, too, pulled it back over his nose most of those times he was shown in violation.

This is a good thing not only for their pocketbooks and reputations but for the league as a whole because the Tennessee Titans’ COVID-19 mess began with an assistant coach testing positive for the virus last month.

It shows that coaches and players are united to help one another.

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