NFL examining playoff procedures, but Goodell doesn’t expect to use a bubble

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The NFL has delayed today’s Ravens-Steelers game by six days because of a COVID-19 outbreak on the Ravens. But in the postseason, that simply wouldn’t be possible.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged today that in the postseason, games just can’t be delayed the way they can be in the regular season. And he said the NFL is exploring what it can do about that.

“We have been discussing for the past weeks how we would proceed in the postseason,” Goodell said. “We’re continuing to evaluate the kinds of changes we might want to make coming into the postseason. They do present different challenges. . . . We’re considering a number of alternatives to meet those challenges. All options are on the table.”

A postseason bubble would be one option, an option that the NBA, NHL and MLB all implemented successfully. It would be more difficult in the NFL, where the rosters, coaching staffs and training staffs are much bigger, and Goodell said he can’t envision a bubble that included every playoff team in one location.

“I don’t see us doing a bubble in the sense that I think a lot of the media focuses on it,” Goodell said. “We may look at ways to reduce the risks to our personnel, whether it is players, coaches or other personnel, that would limit exposures.”

So while the NFL says it is exploring “all options,” the reality is a league-wide bubble does not seem to be an option. More likely is that each individual team will be asked to construct its own bubble for as long as it’s in the playoffs.