Rogel Goodell and the NFL recently announced that zero preseason games would be played due to the fear meaningless games would bring ramifications for the current season. However, playing regular season games across an entire country may cause similar problems.
The MLB has already briefly showed the knock on effects from a number of positive tests. Miami as mentioned saw their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles cancelled and the knock on effect was that their previous opponent the Philadelphia Phillies saw their game against the Yankees postponed.
How could a NFL bubble work?
It would look different to the bubbles the NHL and NBA are currently using, this is as a result of the size of the rosters. This is due to the sheer size of NFL rosters quarantining 53 players from 32 teams in one bubble instead of around 15-20 players from around 22-24 teams is much harder.
Therefore what I would suggest is having 4 bubbles around the country, each bubble containing 2 divisions.
- AFC East and NFC West
- NFC North and AFC South
- AFC West and NFC South
- NFC East and AFC North
Those teams are scheduled to play each other in the 2020 season and in this scenario the NFL could schedule those teams to play each other twice in their bubbles. That would make a 14 game regular season.
As for the playoffs the NFL could continue with the 14 team format, the top three teams in each bubble would qualify for the postseason alongside the two best fourth placed finishers.
Would it be ideal? No, not at all. However, it would be beneficial as teams in a season with fans likely to be absent teams won’t be losing home games as such, they won’t have to repeatedly pay for travel expenses in a bubble and as the NBA and NHL have shown it is safer than playing across an entire country.
Nevertheless, the NFL seem intent on keeping things as normal as possible. Will it result in the outcome they’re hoping for? Possibly. However, a bubble should certainly be under consideration.