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Can the NFL Battle in the Bubble?

NBA players and fans can now enjoy a successful postseason after crowning an NBA Champion with no cancellations of gameplay due to COVID-19. With this accomplishment under their belt, they have efficiently fulfilled all sponsorships and collected the revenue from completing an entertaining NBA season. Yet, on the other side of the spectrum, taking a look at the NFL, there are a lot more bumps in the road compared to the NBA’s path to the end of the season. This season has already seen players catching COVID during the middle of the season causing roster problems and games to be postponed. It is highly doubtful that these cases will provoke the league to cancel the season. The front office wouldn’t dare take a chance like that because of the amount of money they will miss out on. So what will the NFL decide to do to keep things running smoothly and keep the proceeds coming in throughout the season?

It isn’t as if they can continue postponing games until everyone is back and healthy; the season might not be over until a year from now. Some suspect the NFL will take the same approach as the NBA. However, how things stand right now that would be impossible. There are obvious reasons why they can’t take the approach of the NBA to finish the season. An NFL roster consists of 55 players, not to mention the coaching staff that also incorporates separate coaches for each position. It’s highly unlikely there is a remote location that has the possibility to house and treat that many people. However, if the league waited until the postseason to take on the guidelines of a bubble, things would become more manageable.

Another method that could be used in the current state of play is to have sanctioned bubbles across the United States for each team to train and play the rest of the season safely. This approach would lessen any cases of positive COVID-19 cases popping up around the league. I understand that it could be a difficult task for these players as they come in contact with multiple trainers, coaches, masseuses, etc. This nonetheless encourages the idea of a bubble format even more. If this plan took shape then the entire staff would have no choice but to follow protocol along with the players to avoid putting anyone else at risk.

Can the NFL play in the Bubble? In my opinion, both of these options would help things as they stand right now. Now, as far as which one I think would work best, I would have to side with the idea of the postseason bubble. The only reason I say this is because come playoff time there may be fewer positive cases popping up and it would be a safer environment to play football. If all the remaining teams were in the same vicinity, as opposed to a competing team flying into that area possibly carrying the virus with them, the risk would be reduced.  New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton is in favor of the postseason bubble proposal as well, saying “It’s just the discussion of entering the postseason and eliminating all of those things that could possibly transmit a virus, and we know that would be pretty easy.”  The NFL Chief Medical Advisor thinks that a bubble environment “isn’t the safest course of action”. In my opinion, both approaches should be highly considered because this formula that they are using right now just isn’t cutting it, for the health of the players, and for the sake of finishing the season on time, somethings got to change.


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John Starcks

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