SANTA CLARA, Calif. – After moving their entire football operation to Arizona for what was initially hoped to be just a three-week stay, the San Francisco 49ers will end the 2020 regular season in the desert.
A team spokesman said the decision was made to remain in the Phoenix area until the end of the NFL season after Santa Clara County announced it would extend its COVID-19 restrictions, including a ban on contact sports, until at least Jan. 8. .
The 49ers, who had already planned to stay until the Dec. 26 game against the Arizona Cardinals, will also host the Seattle Seahawks in Glendale, Arizona, on Jan. 3.
When the season ends, the Niners will play three “home” games and a road game at State Farm Stadium in the final month of the season.
The extension of the protocols in Santa Clara County was something the Niners expected when they moved, which is why coach Kyle Shanahan told his team that he and Niners operations staff will do their best to try to take their loved ones away. players in Arizona for Christmas Week.
According to 49ers general manager John Lynch, this process is already underway. Lynch told KNBR Radio in San Francisco on Thursday that many of his loved ones have already arrived or will be heading south this weekend. This will allow them to be tested for COVID-19, and when the Niners return from Sunday’s road game against the Dallas Cowboys, they will be able to see their families.
“They will all rehearse when we are gone, so we can see them when we return,” Lynch told KNBR. “That’s going to be a big reason for the boys.”
The 49ers moved to Arizona on December 2, following the initial announcement of improved guidelines in Santa Clara County on November 28. Since then, they have lost their home games to Buffalo Bills and Washington to fall to 5-8 and have seen their postseason hopes dampen.