League considering playoff bubble amid COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: The NFL logo is pictured at an event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

(Reuters) - The NFL, which will kick off its season in three weeks, has not ruled out the idea of creating a restricted postseason bubble to keep teams safe from COVID-19 as they vie for a Super Bowl berth.

NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said on Wednesday the idea of holding playoff games in a so-called bubble was originally brought up by New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.

“The concept was discussed on our last competition committee call,” Vincent said on a conference call with reporters. “Is it something that we are considering? All things are on the table, frankly, at this juncture during this fluid environment.”

The National Basketball Association is currently holding its postseason in a restricted campus at Disney World in Florida while the National Hockey League is staging its Stanley Cup Playoffs in two Canadian cities.

Major League Baseball has seen dozens of games postponed because of COVID-19 cases and is reportedly considering a postseason bubble format.

NFL Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills said the 32-team league has seen a “really low rate” of positive COVID-19 tests over the last two weeks.

Sills said an update on testing results will be provided next week but that the NFL has administered over 42,000 COVID-19 tests in the last 15 days and the positive tests are overwhelmingly unconfirmed positives.

“In terms of the COVID situation, I think as we track that we continue to be very pleased with where we are,” said Sills.

“Teams are continuing to do a great job with their protocols adherence and observing the precautions.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond