NFL schedule changes: Regular season bubble unlikely, Week 18 still in play

Whether you agree or not, the NFL believes that this season has enough contingency at their disposal for the regular season without bubbling up all or some of its teams. This is the clear message NFL officials sent Tuesday afternoon after the first day of virtual boss meetings.

NFL chief medical doctor Alan Sills pointed to two reasons why the regular season bubble would not be in the league’s best interest. First, the risk of infection still persists with service workers coming and going. Secondly, Seals pointed to the mental and emotional toll of being in a bubble for months. Thousands of players and employees may not be the best for them as they are away from their families for the holidays.

“First of all don’t be silly with bubble infection,” Sills said on Tuesday. “It does not remove the need for all our other mitigation strategies. In fact, the infection can spread more quickly inside a bubble if it is introduced because everyone is together in close quarters. And then you get the idea. Have to do. Mental, emotional and behavioral and only the human aspect of that.

“So for all those reasons today we don’t feel that this is the safest course of action for us. We have consistently said that we will redevelop all these decisions and do what we think is the safest decision and All the options remain on the table but today we are looking at it. ”

On Mills’ first point, one could easily argue that the NBA and the NHL kept their season and postbob in a bubble for months without a positive COVID-19 case. Of course, the NFL teams are very large, so the risk here will be high. The NBA tests about 350 players per day, while the league is testing about 2,800 players per day. There are another 5,000 or so personnel employees belonging to all 32 NFL teams, who also conduct daily tests.

Nevertheless, it offers clear evidence that the league is against the idea of ​​a bubble.

Why did bubble idea never make sense?

One, two, four, or eight bubbles never made sense from the beginning, by the way. The infrastructure required for an NFL team to function is so great that there are not enough facilities on the continent that can even house four teams simultaneously for extended periods.

The league will not rule out the possibility of bubbles in the postseason, but I do not think that individual teams (or the league itself) will be in favor of teams going out of their home stadium for the postseason.

For one, it would make the NFL postson completely neutral, which goes against the idea of ​​a regular season. Additionally, we are looking at cities across the country for the idea of ​​allowing more fans in stadiums. If this continues, it does not appear that a player hosting an NFL has a capacity of 25-50% depending on the location of hosting a playoff game and the type of stadium (open air vs. vaulted roof open air). Can be seen standing anywhere in between.

Any city with any kind of economic impact can expect their NFL team to host a playoff game that would actually be wiped out if the league moved the postseason to Southern California or Texas.

What exactly can change

As I wrote last week, the league and the NFLPA may eventually agree to keep players in the hotel as long as they are in the postseason. This will occur after the holidays, will last for more than 6 weeks and will have the highest (but not all) risk of contracting the virus through the spread of the community.

Does the playoff begin the weekend from 10 January and ends on 7 February. Roger Goodell insisted that flexibility would be important, and Vincent made the strongest on-the-record comments yet from a league executive about a Week 18 prospect.

“We lose that flexibility as you see that weeks have to adjust, and that’s what we have to avoid,” Vincent said. “We lose bias as the season progresses. The 18-week window, commissioner referenced that in his initial comments, 256 games are being played while focusing in a 17-week window, knowing that possibly The season continues to progress and things. If that happens, the 18th week could potentially be an option for him. ”

If a problem related to COVID forces a team that does its bye-bye to miss a scheduled game in advance, it seems unlikely that the plan for Week 18 will be deployed by the league at the end.

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