The NFL has been resolute in their lack of plans for a bubble. The logistics of an NFL bubble would be quite more complicated than other pro sports leagues. As a result, the league has imposed some of the most stringent testing protocols in the world. What these protocols will never be able to overcome is human nature.
Tiny Little Bubbles
Imagine your favorite NFL team is hanging on the cusp of the playoffs. They are, as we would say, “on the bubble”. The next game is always the most important game. only this next game could be the defining factor between the post season, or the start of vacation. Teams will always have to overcome injuries, but there looms a bleaker menace on the corners of the ledger. COVID-19.
For the league to go to the NFLPA and request an immediate bubble, it would surely require concessions. If you remember, the NFL and its players union just squared off on a new collective bargaining agreement like five minutes ago. What ‘outside of the box’ offers might it take for players to even consider sequestering from family during the holidays, and for the remainder of the season? Could be a non-starter.
Things Are A Bit More Complicated Now
Back in the first week of October, The NFL postponed a game between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs because Cam Newton has tested positive for the virus. That wasn’t even the only game postponed that week. Due to an outbreak in Tennessee, the Titans/Steelers game was also rescheduled due to an outbreak within the Titans team. Eventually, nine (9) teams would be affected by these two incidents.
Last week in Denver, the Broncos played the Saints with a practice squad WR under center. Not just a player that had never played QB in the NFL. Kendall Hinton had never played in the NFL. Period. Just Wednesday, the Ravens and Steelers would finally play a game that has been postponed more times that airline flights during a snowstorm. As the season has progressed, and seriously, kudos to the league on its determination to play all 256 regular season games, things have definitely gotten harder.
But What About….
Back to that favorite team scenario. The Denver Broncos game, and a Lamar Jackson-less Ravens game have made set the tone. As is, teams are going to be playing these scheduled games. No matter the depletion of the roster. Short of a pandemic within a pandemic outbreak at a teams facilities. The show must go on.
It might come down to a team on the cusp. A team on the bubble. There may be a practice squad of players lining up and fighting for a team’s playoff chances. It’s probably a certainty. It makes every game between now and the end of the season that much more important. It also makes the next man up mentality that much more a given.
Teams that might find themselves on the bubble, may find themselves wishing they were in one.
You can find more content from Ray Kennedy at Bucsreport.com