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#pounditFriday, January 15, 2021

Roger Goodell addresses talk of NFL using playoff bubble

Roger Goodell

With COVID-19 cases rising across the country, there has been talk of the NFL playoffs potentially being held at one or more bubble locations. As of now, commissioner Roger Goodell says that is not part of the plan.

Goodell told reporters on Wednesday that it’s possible the NFL could have teams limit the number of people who come into contact with players, but the league is not planning to implement a bubble plan like the one we saw with the NBA. Goodell said the NFL is “considering a number of alternatives,” but officials feel strongly about the protocols that are currently in place.

“We don’t see the bubble as most refer to it in one location. We feel strongly our protocols are working,” Goodell said, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “We’re willing to adjust and adapt those protocols, take additional steps. But I don’t see us doing the bubble in the sense that the media focuses on it.”

The Baltimore Ravens have been dealing with a coronavirus outbreak that led to their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers being postponed to Wednesday afternoon. Many have criticized the NFL for not canceling the game or moving it to later in the season. Goodell said Wednesday that health and safety remains the top priority for the league and there is confidence the spread with the Ravens has been contained.

“We postponed the game to ensure we had confidence that the virus was contained. Our medical experts believe they have sufficiently traced the virus, identified high-risk personnel and that we can now safely proceed with the game today,” Goodell explained, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

The NFL formulated a plan for dealing with COVID-19 prior to the season and has stuck to it, despite seemingly endless criticism. Some were bothered that the Ravens-Steelers game was postponed while the Denver Broncos were forced to play without a quarterback on Sunday, but the reasoning behind that makes sense.

Unless something drastic changes in the coming weeks, the NFL is unlikely to implement any type of centralized bubble down the stretch.

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