NFL’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Allen Stills, Shoots Down Idea Of Playoff Bubble
In the wake of the recent COVID-19 outbreaks across the NFL, most notably with the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots, many have started questioning whether or not the NFL should enter a bubble-like format, similar to the NBA, for the playoffs. But now the NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Stills, has shot this idea down saying, “We don’t feel that [concept] is the safest course of action. I think we all have to recognize that there are no perfect [solutions] here. First of all, a bubble is not going to keep out all infections. You still have other individuals that come in and out: service workers, security, other personnel. And we’ve known from other experiences that those individuals can be infected. So simply being in a bubble doesn’t keep us safe. We still have to do all these measures of mitigation, with PPE, with identifications of symptoms, with testing, etc.”
While there is sound reasoning to this, I personally believe that the NFL doesn’t want to shell out the cash necessary to make this happen. They have been willing just to reschedule games around COVID outbreaks and as long as they make their television revenue than the overall safety of their players feels like it is secondary to the NFL. Many within the league have been vocal supporters of a bubble including New Orleans Saints’ coach Sean Payton, who is likely to coach his team to the playoffs this season.
It has been clear that the NFL is too large to contain COVID spreads if it cannot be in a bubble environment, but the league does not seem to care. As long as games are being played and checks are getting cut then we will likely see business as usual from the NFL this season.