NFL Exploring Idea of Bubble For Postseason
NFL executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent, announced that a postseason bubble could be implemented this winter.
The creation of the bubble would keep players and team staff members healthy and protected from the coronavirus for the playoffs.
Sean Payton first brought forward the idea of creating a playoff bubble during a competition committee meeting. Vincent was quick to point out that no further discussions have taken place, and he isn’t sure if the league can legally implement the plan.
Allen Sills, chief medical officer of the NFL, was also in favor of creating a “secure environment” for the 2020 NFL Playoffs. The NBA and the NHL have both implemented a bubble system for their playoffs in 2020, and they have proved this method can be effective.
There was a time when the NFL considered trying to create a bubble environment for the 2020 regular season as well, but it wouldn’t work logistically. The league has implemented strict health and safety protocols, and teams are effectively in a bubble in their home environments.
The NFL has liked the results that they have seen so far, and the league remains confident that a season can be completed in 2020. There are currently just ten players that remain on the league’s reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton’s team, have created voluntary bubbles for players during training camp. Players can shuttle back and forth from the practice facility to a hotel to limit outside exposure.
COVID-19 Advisory Board Formed
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has formed a COVID-19 Advisory Board that will work with the league to make some decisions during the 2020 regular season. The competition committee would normally make these types of decisions, but Goodell wants some outside voices looking at league policies.
The board will help the league make some decisions about potential postponements, cancellations, or schedule changes in response to the ongoing pandemic. Goodell felt that some of these decisions could create a conflict of interest with the competition committee.
The NFL has also tweaked their protocol for anyone who has tested positive in the last 90 days. Masks and other forms of PPE must be worn by anyone that has reported a positive test in the previous three months.
In an effort to reduce the number of people that are on the field for game days, the NFL will not allow any cheerleaders, fans, mascots, or sideline reporters on the field at any time. Most teams had already made this decision, but the league made that a league-wide mandate this week.
The NFL is still exploring the daily COVID-19 testing protocol during the regular season, but a decision is expected to be announced soon. The NFL and the NFL Players Association currently have an agreement that runs through September 5, but the two sides will have to determine if they wish to continue that agreement or create a new policy.
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