The NFL has already had to make a handful of scheduling changes to accommodate teams that have been impacted by COVID-19 outbreaks, but has so far avoided adding extra weeks onto the season.
However, the league is certainly open to doing that, and that includes moving the date on the Super Bowl.
“If there’s one consistent theme to our year it’s flexibility and adapting,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters on a conference call Tuesday when asked about the possibility of moving the Super Bowl. “Flexibility is going to be critical. We will have flexibility to complete our season, but to do it safely.”
The Super Bowl is currently scheduled on Feb. 7 in Tampa Bay, and as of now, there does not seem to be any imminent threat that it could be pushed back. However, the possibility the NFL adds a Week 18 onto the end of the season does could come into play if more games need to be rescheduled, which could then interrupt the playoff schedule.
There have been some whispers that the NFL should move toward a bubble format – at least for the playoffs – after the success the NBA and NHL had with that. But NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills, who spoke after Goodell, made that seem like a last resort.
“Today we do not feel that is the safest course of action for us,” he said, but added “all options are on the table.”
Sills added: “We all have to recognize that there are no perfect situations here. A bubble is not going to keep all infections out. Simply being in a bubble doesn’t keep us safe. We still have to do all the mitigation.”
Meanwhile, with the Titans scheduled to play the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday do to an outbreak within the team, the NFL is still investigating the cause of the outbreak.
There has been much discussion on what the ramifications for the Titans should be if they violated protocols, such as holding unauthorized workouts after a positive test, but Goodell said seemed to downplay the discipline aspect.
“This is not about discipline,” he said. “This is about keeping our personnel safe.”