Disney will play host to the NBA’s bubble season in the hopes of isolating players from the general public. The NFL might want to do the same thing.
Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke on Thursday about how football leagues like college and NFL needs to be cautious on how they approach the regular season.
We have already seen several football teams in college and the NFL with high number of COVID-19 cases. 13 Texas Longhorn players tested positive for COVID-19 with an additional ten players who had to self-quarantine. Multiple players on the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys tested positive for COVID-19. One of those players was Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Denver Broncos defensive back Kareem Jackson also reported he tested positive as well.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded to a question regarding the league’s approach on COVID-19 during the regular season.
“So positive tests are going to happen,” Goodell told Mike Greenberg of ESPN’s Get Up Monday. “The issue is, can we obviously prevent as many of those from happening, but in addition, treat them quickly, isolate them and prevent them from directly impacting our player personnel.
The league has discussed expanding practice squads from 12 players to as many as 16. This would help with dealing with players who test positive and can have practice squad players play right away.
So far, the NFL plans to have all their teams play in all 32 NFL stadiums as originally planned.
The NBA’s Plan That the NFL Should Take Notes On
Playing in multiple stadiums with the risk of spreading COVID-19 around the country has to be on the NFL’s mind. This is a risky move by the league as they will have to have at least over 100 people on the field at a time. It will be difficult to practice social distancing with that many people.
The NBA has decided to have 22 teams come to Disney’s complex to finish the season out. Any teams within six games of a playoff spot will play eight games to determine seeding. Their season will resume July 31.
The key note to make with the NBA’s approach is playing in just one location. This might prove to be difficult for the NFL since they have a full season with 32 teams, but the bubble idea shouldn’t be looked down on.
Player’s safety as well as the general public’s health must be the NFL’s number one priority. Playing in multiple stadiums runs the risk of spreading the virus everywhere. So what can the league do about it?
The Plan the League Should Consider
The league should look at one or two different locations to play their games. Their schedule should only reflect on each conference playing each other and eliminate AFC versus NFC games. Find two cities that have been the least affected by COVID-19 and play games there. Each conference would play four games Saturday and four games on Sunday. Fan attendance should only be 50 percent occupancy at the most.
In terms of testing, any players, coaches, and other staff members on the field must be tested consistently. They should be tested at least twice a week. The NBA will be requiring their players to wear a smart ring that can detect if a person have COVID-19 three days in advance. This idea should be considered by the NFL.
What Will Actually Happen for 2020 Season
Canceling the NFL season is not even an option for the league. The plan seems to be that the league will play according to plan with stadiums not being at full capacity. In the end, it’s all about the money and the league won’t do anything to jeopardize that.
Is it the right thing to do? That remains to be seen, but it seems unsafe for all their players, coaches, and staff. The NFL should take the lead of the NBA and MLS on playing in a bubble. It would cost them millions, but could end up saving more lives than they think.