A soft bubble was doomed to fail the NFL

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The NFL’s experience with COVID-19 unfolded, as one source explained it to PFT late Saturday, like an average golfer who somehow managed to finagle a par on each of he first three holes of the course. Despite the early success, a triple-bogey was always inevitable.

The triple-bogey has now arrived.

The outbreak in Tennessee, followed by potential outbreaks with the Patriots and Saints, show that a soft bubble was never going to work. Every night, with every team, roughly 170 players, coaches, and essential staff go home. “That’s 170 different stories,” as one source put it. “Every night.”

It was inevitable that those 170 people per team eventually would, while away from the facility, get exposed to the virus, either by going somewhere they shouldn’t have gone (e.g., the Raiders) — or simply by living with someone who was exposed to the virus at work, school, the store, etc.

That’s why a soft bubble was never going to work. And that’s why the only way to save the 2020 NFL season is to pull all teams in a hard local bubble, keeping everyone critical to the operation in a hotel so that those 170 stories won’t play out, night after night when the players, coaches, and other employees go home, potentially get exposed to the virus, and then return to work.

The NFL has been willing to create 32 hard bubbles. The NFL Players Association has not been willing to do it. Unless the NFLPA changes its position immediately, games will be lost, game checks will be forfeited, and the season potentially will be stopped dead in its tracks.