Some of the major sports have chosen to have players reside in a proverbial bubble to keep players safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the NFL’s ability to do the same, the league does not permit the use of a bubble, per the Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman.
In an article on TwinCities.com, Spielman told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press that the NFL and NFLPA’s new CBA agreement won’t allow them to require players to reside in hotel rooms:
“We couldn’t require the players to stay in a hotel room, so that’s a collectively bargained agreement,” Spielman said.
Other major sports like the NBA and WNBA have seen success in creating a bubble for its players. Furthermore, the NBA is already discussing the prospects of having the 2020-2021 season in a bubble. Mike Zimmer, the head coach of the Vikings, believes the NFL has the resources to enforce a bubble to prioritize the safety of its players and coaches.
“With our facilities here, we could keep our guys in a bubble,’’ said head coach Mike Zimmer. “We’ve got so much space and the hotel right next to us, but unfortunately those aren’t the rules.’’
If the NFL could have discussed the specifics of creating a bubble months ago, it could have been a viable option for the league. However, with the league procrastinating their plans for the 2020 season, it would be nearly impossible to manufacture a bubble in such short notice.
There’s no doubt that creating a bubble would have created a safer environment for players in the NFL. With that being said, the latest agreement between the NFL and NFLPA will prohibit the NFL from having one — to the dismay of Zimmer and Spielman.