Could a possible NFL bubble be in the making for this years upcoming NFL playoffs?

Could a possible NFL bubble be in the making for this years upcoming NFL playoffs?

Ryan Aceto, Sports Writer

What could a possible NFL bubble look like for the NFL’s new 14 team playoff scenario this season, along the Covid-19 pandemic?

On one hand, it would be a great idea because this method has already been proven to work for both the MLB and the NBA when their season’s playoffs were about to begin. On the other hand, this could also not be probable at all. NFL teams have 53 players on their active roster while the NBA has 14 players, and the MLB has about 25.

When Mike Tirico, a sportscaster for NBC, asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the possibility of a playoff bubble Goodell didn’t sound hopeful. “This isn’t something we would do because we believe our protocols are working. We would consider further isolation to reduce and better protect our personal,” said Goodell.

Goodell would rather keep doing what the league is doing instead of expanding and trying out a bubble to allow keeping teams in their own personal space. Goodell should put the idea of a bubble into consideration because both the NBA and the MLB both had their own versions of a bubble which seemed to work. When Goodell said that their protocols are working, he wasn’t wrong, but there have been bumps in the road with canceled practices, and even the rescheduling of some games. He should have a bubble to see the significance of isolation like a bubble to see decreasing Covid-19 cases within teams organizations. 

Other people might say having an NFL bubble would be a bad idea because of the amount of players on each team or maybe because of trying to find suitable locations for all the teams to be housed comfortably. This isn’t the case because if people looked at the MLB and the NBA, they both experienced major decreases in positive Covid-19 cases when it came to isolating teams and successfully coping with Covid-19 protocols. They also didn’t have any problems trying to house teams away from each other because they were able to house different teams in all types of different locations.  

When it came to the MLB, their way of a bubble was to split the American League and the National League. Meaning they put the American League playing in California and the National League in Texas, with the World Series being played at Globe Life Park in Arlington Texas.  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the MLB’s postseason did go to neutral sites for the first time ever. The road to the World Series went through bubble ballparks in San Diego, Los Angeles, Houston, and Arlington Texas to decrease the risk and exposure of players while their teams chase October’s famous prize.

This is an example that shows the necessary steps the MLB took to safely be able to play during the pandemic. To go along with playing at different venues, the protocols the MLB took were very successful. The only known Covid-19 positive came from Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers in their series clinching win that came with the prized commissioner’s trophy after winning the World Series.

The NBA decided to hold their bubble at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, which is part of Walt Disney World. The NBA smartly distributed the teams at local hotels near the complex. Consisting of 8 staying at the Grand Floridian Resort, 8 staying at the new Gran Destino at the Coronado Springs Resort, and 6 staying at the Yacht Club. 

The NBA’s bubble environment saw a massive list of safety protocols enacted but also saw a return-to-play unlike anything sports fans had seen before.

With the NBA already having Covid protocols before going into a bubble and now adding even more inside the bubble, they did this so they wouldn’t miss anything or potentially make a mistake when testing the players and coaches. By the time the NBA championship was awarded to the Los Angeles Lakers, we saw week after week the NBA was having less to no positive Covid tests completely, and that the extra precaution they were taking was working in rapid succession. 

Now that bubbles are becoming a reality for professional sports this year because of Covid-19, seeing them possibly making an appearance in the college scene and even going down to the high school scene could potentially be an option. Having these becoming a part of college and high school sports could make for a great idea. Having these will allow for sports to be played safely for the kids, the parents to watch, and for the coaches. To allow for this to work parents would need to comply with wearing facial coverings, social distancing, and keeping close to each other within their own families and not spreading out. Coaches would need to wear face coverings while on the field during games and practices, and the players on the sidelines would also need to wear facial coverings. 

Frankly, it is in the best interest of the NFL really to consider a bubble because it would allow for the safest possible working environment for the NFL to play out the playoffs and for the players and coaches to do what they do without any worries.