NFL establishing a bubble- is it possible?

With+all+NFL+stadiums+either+limiting+their+capacity++or+not+allowing+fans+to+attend+games+at+all%2C+when+will+be+the+next+time+we+see+a+stadium+like+this+one%3F

Photo Credit: Photo via pxfuel.com under Creative Commons License

With all NFL stadiums either limiting their capacity or not allowing fans to attend games at all, when will be the next time we see a stadium like this one?

By: Niko DaSilva

Since the NFL’s 2020 campaign started, the league has seen 20 players have COVID-19 cases throughout the first six weeks of the season.

Games have been postponed, leading to some suggesting the idea of a league-wide bubble.
Almost all that observed the NBA during this time praised the bubble. Not only did it deliver safe and entertaining basketball, but it also prevented the league from losing $1.5 billion in revenue, according to sportsbusinessdaily.com. The NBA also reported zero positive COVID-19 cases reported within the bubble’s lifespan. The NBA’s policy was great, but  as football season came along, many fans wondered: “what if the NFL did this?”

Problems Arise

The NFL’s situation and the NBA’s situation during the COVID-19 pandemic were completely different. The NBA’s regular season was just coming to an end. This gave them more leeway to exclude teams from the bubble if they were not good enough to participate in the playoffs. On the other hand, the NFL was birthing its 101st season, and even eliminated their four-game preseason. This was to “minimize the risk of travel and ensure that the regular season begins in a timely manner,” according to a memo the NFL sent to all of its 32 clubs.

Another problem that would make it difficult for it to make a bubble would be the size of  teams alone. An NFL team may have 53 players on its roster and could have over 20 coaches. This alone dramatically increases the chances of COVID transmission. For example, players and coaches are not social distancing on the sidelines. The NFL does have a rule in place that forces coaches to wear a mask on the sidelines, but that rule does not apply to players actively participating in the game, making COVID transmission taking place more likely.

Medical Expert’s Views

Joanne Beebe, Nurse of Colonia High School is no stranger to sicknesses and precautions that should be taken under said circumstances. She also knows much about the sports environment- being around many gym classes and school sporting events. Beebe stated, “I think if the players take precautions, then football should be allowed . . .the pros should get tested frequently and report any positive cases to correct authorities. If there is an increase of COVID positive players, then football should be put on hold.” Nurse Beebe was also asked about the possibility of an NFL bubble. She agreeably said, “A bubble format can work, providing the players stay within their designated area… I would be in favor of an NFL format which keeps players & staff safe.”

A Former Player’s Opinion

Former NFL player Darian Barnes gave his thoughts on football being played this year. Barnes was against the 2020 season being played, saying, “until there is a vaccine for this virus, I think doing anything of that nature is especially dangerous.” Barnes was also asked about the possibility of an NFL bubble. He emphasized that it would be a headache to put together.

Furthermore, it would have to be much larger than just a “bubble” for it to become a reality. Barnes explained this, saying “there isn’t a facility large enough to hold that many people at the time,” he would go on to elaborate this, declaring that “[the NFL would have to] find a city that has 40 hotels in a 50 mile radius, the game schedule would be utterly nuts. You would literally need a Football City.” Simply, NFL would run into a series of problems if they wanted to establish a bubble. The league has too many teams with too many players and personnel.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email