NFL Executives: Regular Season Bubble Is Highly Unlikely
The NFL regular season returned on September 10 along with Bitcoin sportsbooks starting to light up with odds again. The first match featured defending Super Bowl LIV champion Kansas City and Houston. While other sports leagues concluded their respective seasons with a successful bubble format, the NFL confirms that a regular-season bubble is likely not happening and Week 18 of the season will push through as planned.
The NFL had its reasons for not hosting a bubble season, despite the advice and suggestions from other sports leagues. The NFL believes that a regular season would be a success without forcing all teams and players to stay inside a bubble. NFL executives shared their sentiments regarding the matter in a virtual meeting earlier this week.
Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical doctor, pointed out the main reasons behind the decision. According to him, a regular-season bubble wouldn’t be in the league’s best interest because of two things.
First, the risk of infection will remain high with staff entering and exiting the venue, regardless of the season is in a bubble or not. Infections can even spread more rapidly inside a bubble, Sills added. Second, the NFL considered the effects of isolation on the mental and emotional well-being of its staff and players. The NBA, despite a successful season, recognized how the bubble environment negatively affected some of its players. Following the NFL’s target schedule, it’s possible that players and staff won’t be allowed to celebrate holidays with their families in a bubble season.
“For all of those reasons right now today we don’t feel that’s the safest course of action for us. We’ve consistently said that we’ll re-eval all of these decisions along the way and make what we think is the safest decision and all options remain on the table but that’s our thought on it today,” Sills said in the virtual meeting.
It’s also worth noting that NFL teams carry more players as compared to the NBA and other sports leagues that hosted a bubble season. The NBA tested about 350 players daily, while the NFL tests at least 2,800 players daily.
For these reasons, Week 18 and all NFL matches beyond that will continue in their designated venues with a limited number of participants. The bubble environment is out of the table.