The NBA Model
The NBA has laid out its model for completing their season. 22 teams are set to play out the final part of the season at Disney World in Florida. There’s set to be eight ‘seeding’ games to determine the final playoff standings and then the playoffs will commence in its usual format.
However, there will be no fans and all games will take place in Florida.
This will allow teams to remain in a bubble to complete the season. The NFL, on the other hand, has flat-out denied the possibility of following the same model.
The NFL Will Take a Different Route
In a Wednesday conference call with NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills, he said that, “We do not feel it’s practical or appropriate to construct a bubble. Anyone who tests positive will be isolated until medically appropriate to return.”
Instead, the NFL is opting to implement both education and contact tracing programs to manage outbreaks within the league.
Dr. Sills said that he believes it’s still too early to consider the possibility of constructing a bubble. With the regular season not set to begin until September, there’s still a lot of time for the science to evolve.
During the call, it was revealed that the league intends on testing everyone who comes into contact with coaches and players prior to game day. This program will include the mandatory testing of officials.
Why is the NFL So Reluctant to Follow the NBA?
There are some considerable differences between the NFL and the NBA. For a start, the NBA has already completed a significant part of its season, whereas the NFL is nowhere near its beginning. The NFL is still holding out hope that the situation will change before September.
However, NFL players are starting to return to the training camp. A number of teams have already seen positive tests for the virus, particularly the Dallas Cowboys. Players who have tested positively are expected to be separated and made to follow strict self-isolation protocols.
Another aspect of the NFL’s reluctance is money. The NBA is already expected to lose hundreds of millions of dollars for losing a portion of the season.
For the NFL, to be forced to play in a bubble would impact both teams, broadcast contracts, players, and the very foundation of the league itself.
Even though we may not see any fans at the games for the 2020-2021 season, the NFL is still eager to allow teams to play in their home stadiums.
From next month, there’s no doubt all eyes will be on the NBA and how their modified season will play out.