Would a Bubble Make Sense for the NFL?
Bubbles are all the talk in sports these days, and whether all sports should be using a bubble in the midst of the pandemic. The NBA’s bubble has been working wonders for that league in Orlando, and the NHL’s dual-bubble set up in Toronto and Edmonton. Those two leagues have had virtually no positive tests since their season restarts, and they haven’t had to postpone any games because of the coronavirus.
MLB doesn’t have a bubble and has had many games postponed, with at least four teams having had positive tests since the shortened season began. With this evidence, many people think the NFL should have its season done within the confines of a bubble, but does that make sense?
The NBA’s successful bubble at Disney World
The NBA began the domino effect that led to a complete shutdown of sports in America when the league suspended play in March after Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. And it was one of the first major team sports to resume play this summer, utilizing a bubble scenario at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
And going with a bubble has been the right call for the league. Since players started entering the bubble and being quarantined, there have been four straight weeks without a player testing positive for the virus, according to CBS Sports.
Will the NFL have a bubble this season?
The NFL is the most popular sports league in America, and also the most valuable. Ensuring its season goes the distance without any major pandemic-related issues is crucial for the NFL. That is why some people believe the league should institute its own bubble system.
CBS Sports reports that there is increasing chatter within the league about the possibility of the NFL instituting a bubble of some kind once it reaches its postseason in January. Several GMs have discussed the possibility, though the league office has not issued any formal guidance about the situation.
If that ends up being the case, teams wouldn’t be surprised — and after seeing how successful the NBA and NHL have been with their bubbles, it might be a good idea for the NFL to implement. Major League Baseball is also considering having a bubble for at least part of its postseason.
Would an NFL bubble be feasible?
The idea of having a bubble sounds good for the NFL, but it might not be feasible for a league the size of the NFL. The NBA has 12-player rosters, with five starters on each team.
The NFL has 55-man rosters on game days, with 22 starters needed between offense and defense. Just that fact alone means the bubble would be massive to house that many players, with 14 teams making the playoffs this season, the first year of the league’s latest playoff expansion.
If the NBA bubble cost over $150 million, the NFL’s bubble would likely be significantly more than that given the number of people who would need to be in the bubble.
Then there are the on-field logistics. Would there be one bubble for all teams, or one per conference? With teams only playing once a week, finding enough NFL-caliber stadiums to host all of the games needed would be difficult.
Teams have to play on weekends, with the possibility of a Monday night game, but midweek games are out of the questions because it would put teams at a competitive disadvantage if they have less rest than teams that play on the weekend. When everything is taken into consideration, an NFL bubble probably isn’t feasible, even just for the playoffs.