Sports | October 13, 2020 10:36 am

Report: NFL Discussing Playoff Bubble Prior to Super Bowl LV in Tampa

Los Angeles and Dallas could be two potential locations for the bubble to be created

NFL Discussing Playoff Bubble Prior to Super Bowl LV
A general view of an NFL logo on a field goal post.
Scott Taetsch

After seeing how successful the coronavirus-free “bubbles” the NHL and NBA used to finish their respective seasons were in keeping players safe and games on time, the NFL is looking into the possibility of creating a postseason bubble, according to The Athletic.

Though Super Bowl LV would still be played in Tampa Bay, earlier-round playoff games could be held at neutral sites prior to the big game. Under one scenario being discussed, wild-card games would be played as normal. 

“Part of the discussion… is that for playoffs they may be able to do a bubble type system that would avoid having to reschedule or losing key players because (they are) COVID positive or had contact with COVID positive,” a source told The Athletic.  “It’s a big undertaking if they do this.”

Potential locations for the bubble include Dallas and Los Angeles, as both cities have state-of-the-art venues (AT&T Stadium and SoFi Stadium), ample hotel space and warm climates. 

An in-season bubble is not currently being discussed even though 11 AFC teams (Titans, Bills, Steelers, Ravens, Patriots, Broncos, Chargers, Jets, Jaguars, Dolphins and Chiefs) have now had at least one game rescheduled because of the coronavirus.

The NFL previously discussed holding postseason games in a bubble after New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton broached the idea during a competition committee meeting in August.

“We didn’t use the term ‘bubble,’ but that ‘secure environment’ to make sure that there is no risk from the outside as teams start making that [playoff] drive,” NFL executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent said at the time. “We did tell Coach Payton that it was something that both [chief medical officer Allen] Sills and the teams would explore. These are things that we just have to be flexible on.”