The Spring League to Be 1st Football League to Use Bubble for October Tournament

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2020

The logo is shown on the goalpost of the NCAA First Responder Bowl college football game between Western Kentucky and Western Michigan in Dallas, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Roger Steinman/Associated Press

The Spring League, a developmental football league and scouting showcase, plans to sequester its players in a bubble for a six-team tournament in October.

Kevin Seifert of ESPN reported the league plans to hire players who were released by NFL teams and some college football players from Power Five schools who opted out or had their season canceled due to COVID-19. The Spring League is the first professional football league to use a bubble.

The bubble concept has proven successful, with the NBA, WNBA, NHL, MLS and NWSL all but eradicating positive tests among its players, coaches and officials during the resumption/beginning of their respective seasons. The MLS and NWSL both had to eliminate teams due to outbreaks, but those happened before play began in the bubble.

Those leagues provide a direct contrast to Major League Baseball, which does not have a bubble and has been forced to postpone several games due to outbreaks among players. The St. Louis Cardinals have played only five games this season after several players and coaches were diagnosed.

The NFL chose not to hold a bubble for the 2020 season. However, players are under strict protocols for their on-field and off-field conduct to limit the potential spread.

Spring League CEO Brian Woods estimated about 280 players, coaches and staff will be placed into the league's Las Vegas bubble. Each of the six teams will be made up of 38 players.

The league is also planning to ban huddles and limit teams to 19 players, three coaches and three members of the medical staff on the sideline. The remaining 19 players and other coaches/medial staffers will be placed in the end-zone tunnel or stay in the locker room.