The NFL will enter the regular season without a hardened bubble. Will the NFL try to harden the bubble by the time the playoffs roll around?
NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent entertained that question during a Wednesday conference call with reporters. Vincent added that Saints coach Sean Payton raised the issue during a recent Competition Committee meeting.
For now, it’s not in the plans; Vincent mentioned that he’s not sure that the league could “legally” do it. Vincent nevertheless acknowledged that players could do it voluntarily, obviating the need for an agreement with the NFL Players Association. And here’s the reality: As teams get closer and closer to a berth in the Super Bowl, they will become more, not less, careful about avoiding the virus.
Likewise, they will become more, not less, willing to stay in a hotel for the balance of the season — especially if/when only a few weeks remain, or less.
Vincent acknowledged more broadly that “all things are on the table,” echoing chief medical officer Allen Sills’ response to PFT PM when asked about the possibility of a city-by-city, team-by-team bubble earlier this month. If the need arises for something more restrictive than the current arrangement, a bubble that brings all members of a football operation into a hotel for the balance of the season has to be a possible alternative to pulling the plug on the season.