Are you ready for some fooooootbaaaaaallll? Different football that is! This 2020 movie keeps on rolling and the upcoming NFL season doesn’t lack suspense. When will players report to camp? What will camp look like? Where will Cam Newton land? Will Colin Kaepernick sign with a team? This will be one of, if not the most anticipated football seasons ever because of the unknowns. Not to mention HBO has recently announced their acclaimed show Hard Knocks will feature both LA teams, Rams and Chargers.
We can’t talk about the upcoming football season without mentioning sports’ nemesis: COVID-19. That’s why we’re at this point. March 12th, 2020 the day sports stopped. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci has indicated the NFL should take the bubble approach or not have a season at all, according to an MSNBC article.
Bubble-ing Over: NFL Season at Risk?
Is the Bubble Viable
The NBA and NHL have already set COVID-19 parameters for the bubble when those respective leagues return to action. With the number of personnel and players for each of the teams, it’s doable. Look at an NBA team, for example. There are only 15 players on a roster for which only 13 are active. Along with coaches and trainers, you’re dealing with about 25 or so people per team. Not to mention the facility staff. Other than the players on the court, social distancing in this environment is challenging but can be done. Even with the measures that the NBA has taken, nobody can say that it will prevent the players from contracting coronavirus.
Looking at the juggernaut that is the NFL, there would need to be one big bubble! Just one team consists of more than two NBA teams combined. There are 90 players alone that report to training camp, which is cut down to 53 by the start of the season. Social distancing? There’s no way this is possible in the sport of football. Sure, the NFL has already suspended combined team practices. You still have over 100 people on the field together.
What about when the season starts? When the NBA restarts on July 31st all the games will be played in the Walt Disney dome in Orlando, FL. It’s hard to envision one central location for the NFL season. I’m sure most people are asking how is this viable? Even the Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys has been canceled. Though it was the Hall of Fame’s decision to do so, it could be foreshadowing of what’s to come. Being the billion-dollar industry the shield is, commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL will find a way to pull it off.
How Will the Players React
Even though these are superior athletes, concerns still high for their health and well being. Not only for them but their families as well. Three coaches for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have contracted COVID-19. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott tested positive for the virus last week and has recently voiced his concerns. New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins also made a statement indicating football is non-essential and shouldn’t go on if it’s not safe. The league will surely develop a protocol to ensure to keep players, staff, and fans alike as safe as possible but will it be enough.
There’s always the unknown and human nature. There will be parameters and set rules in place but players will push boundaries. Like the old saying goes, “rules are meant to be broken.” Per Kevin Seifert of ESPN, the NFL has already announced plans to start on time next month. It’s like being in the Forex market trading but instead of trading currencies, it’s people. The reward is greater than the risk, we’ll training camp is around the corner, we’ll see if the NFL will “take profit” or “stop loss.”