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Is It NFL’s Turn to Reconsider Playing in a “Bubble” Model?

The NFL is set to kick off its regular season on September 10th. While the NBA, MLB, and MLS have had to endure suspended or postponed seasons, football has had the luxury of time. However, that luxury is fading as the season gets closer and the COVID-19 pandemic presses on. Recently, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to terms on major issues confirming that there’ll be a season in 2020. But will those plans change soon?

Right now, the NFL is planning on playing on each team’s home stadium (most likely with no fans in the stands). However, as news emerged about a COVID-19 outbreak within MLB’s Miami Marlins, it might be time to reconsider playing in a bubble model just like the NBA and MLS.

In case you missed it, only three games into their season, reports emerged on the Marlins having 11 infected players out of the 33 that have been traveling with the team. As a result, Monday’s game between the Marlins and Orioles has been postponed as well as the Phillies-Yankees matchup (the Phillies faced the Marlins last weekend). Days removed from opening day, Major League Baseball is holding an emergency meeting as they try to figure out what to do.

As Scott Van Pelt said so accurately on Twitter: “Who the hell knows?” It’s difficult to play professional sports in 2020. It took less than a week for an MLB team to suffer an outbreak within their clubhouse. The season is literally just beginning. But there’s another side to sports amidst the pandemic.

The NBA and MLS are going to play within a bubble in Orlando. Basketball is set to begin this week while soccer has already begun. MLS has released eight consecutive reports of zero positive cases from their host hotel.

There’s no doubt that playing in a bubble model would be ideal for any sport. After all, there’s more control over where the athletes are going and what contact they are having. There’s still a risk, of course, but it’s safer.

However, it’s unfair to compare the size of football teams (including coaching staffs) to basketball and soccer. Think about it, a regular-season roster is made out of 53 players. How can you make a bubble work? Geoff Schwartz tweeted about how they traveled with five buses and that the number of people per team you’d have to “bubble” would exceed 200.

Also, it’s worth noting that the NBA is close to ending its season and won’t play a full regular season while the NFL will have to.

I believe we all understand the challenges of implementing a bubble for the NFL, especially when the season is less than two months away and players and owners have already agreed to play a season without a bubble.

But the NFL has to try. If it can’t make it work in a bubble, they should consider creative alternatives like multiple bubbles per region as ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky suggested on Twitter. Even if it seems like a very tough task, the NFL has to look at baseball as the only sport that’s tried to come back without a bubble and realize:

1) It took three games for a team to have an outbreak in MLB.

2) Baseball is a sport with almost no contact.

3) Did we mention it took three games?

September 10th is the date for the NFL’s 2020 kickoff. Right now, it’s set to take place in Arrowhead Stadium. But the league has to take a look at the possibility of implementing a bubble even if it seems like it’s too late.

Tell me what you think about “Is It NFL’s Turn to Reconsider Playing in a “Bubble” Model?” in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

What do you think?

Mauricio Rodriguez

Written by Mauricio Rodriguez

I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.

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  1. I think a bubble is the only way this works. It would only be a matter of time before a major outbreak occurs and shuts this whole thing down

  2. This is the dumbest nonsense I’ve ever read…a “Bubble format” for the NFL would be IMPOSSIBLE… We’re talking 2,400 plus people ( with all 32 teams combined, players and coaches) for a 22 week Season…Might as well just call the season a scratch if you think a Bubble Format would work smdh!

  3. I’ll tell u what’s dumb buddy that’s not being extremely proactive and creative about how u approach a full contact sport involving 32 teams with a million people in each others faces for 16 wks and not have the season end in wk one. Can’t just blindly and stupidly think everything will work out by magic. Million things that can go wrong. If not some variation of a bubble then they darn better have their smartest people brainstorming different scenarios that will allow us to have a season this yr

  4. I doubt very seriously if we see any football this year ! Is there anybody that believes these guys can get on a field and sweat all over each other without being infected ?! I tell you if I were playing I would have a full plastic face mask and my arms and hands would have no skin showing! Ha. Seriously if by some chance they do play I think we will see several players sitting this season out especially the ones that have all ready GOT PAID!

  5. There’s a company that’s in the process of sending every NFL player and coach some masks that were made specifically for them to use while they’re playing football!! Hopefully they’ll be good enough to keep them from catching the Coronavirus and we’ll get to see a whole season!!

  6. Why not have bubble zones in every NFL city? The NFL can simply make agreements with hotels in which only NFL personnel are allowed in a specific branch etc. On top of that, get players to agree to not leave the bubble zones unless for an emergency or NFL activity. Once you provide the players with all amenities they desire within the zone, I think this formula could work. What do you think?

  7. It could of all players, coaches and team and stadium personnel were to comply, but there are so many moving parts

  8. That’s the type of forward thinking the league offices need to be implementing Joshua. Obviously no plan is foolproof and yes there are many moving parts. But to just sit by idly and hope everything goes well seems foolhardy. I’m sure the NFL is looking into various scenarios and measures that can be taken. The team that wins the super bowl this yr could very well be determined by which players opt out more then anything else.

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