The NFL season is months away, but already in danger. The longer the NBA and NHL go without even a tentative, optimistic timeline to finish their seasons, the more impossible it seems that the NFL could start its own. If the season is going to happen, the NFL would need to take drastic measures and NBC's Mike Florio has a suggestion. Via Pro Football Talk:
"There’s another way to have football. It’s an extreme idea, one that was floated to a G.M. earlier this week and mentioned in the Sunday mailbag and repeated during a visit with WFAN on Sunday afternoon: The NFL takes all teams to a location free from coronavirus, tests everyone on the way in, and then sequesters the entire league for the full duration of the season."
Keep in mind, this is not something the NFL is actively considering. This is something Florio mentioned to an unnamed NFL general manager earlier this week and then mentioned again in his mailbag on Sunday morning, and again on a WFAN appearance on Sunday afternoon and then turned into its own article on Sunday night.
At no point does Florio even tell us how the GM reacted to the idea. He just tells us all the places he has mentioned the thing that he thought of. And boy is it a thing to think.
"One possibility would be to find a place literally in the middle of nowhere and build enough fields to play the various games on a given Sunday (and Saturday, if college football doesn’t happen in 2020) and enough rooms to house the players, coaches, trainers, broadcasters, etc. for 17 weeks of football and four weeks of the postseason."
If there are 32 teams in the NFL, some weeks there would be 16 games. Take away three night games a week and you're down to 13 games, which would mean that you would need a minimum of seven full size football fields with the usual sideline space and places to set up cameras. You know what? Let's be generous and say you play on Saturday night all season as well, so you only need six. Five if you want to play a Friday night double-header. That still seems like a lot of space.
Then there is the problem with the rooms which would house the players, coaches, team personnel, broadcasters and "etc." ETC is a lot of people. The folks working the cameras. The equipment managers. The people cooking and cleaning in this immense facility who would also have to live on premises. And before you even get to "etc.," you're looking at 32 55-man rosters. That's 1,696 players alone. Healthy, active players. No inactive players. No practice squad. No free agents.
You're basically setting up the next biosphere experiment, but instead of a dozen or so doctors and scientists you've got thousands of people. You know how miserable football players get during training camp? Take them away from their families and recreational activities for four months and see how that works out.
Florio goes on to suggests building a football facility at The Greenbriar in West Virginia which has 710 rooms. So if every player in the NFL shares a hotel room with another player for four consecutive months, only 276 players would still need rooms. Plus all the coaches and "etc."
And how do we feed all these people? You would need to grow / stockpile the food because one person in the supply chain sneezes in the wrong place and the entire thing goes up in smoke. This would be a cruise ship times a college dorm, but everybody has to hug for three hours straight once a week.
Oh, and you have to have this all sorted out in three months. And you currently don't have any plans for this. You either need to find a remote location with five NFL broadcast-ready football fields and build a very, very big hotel, or you find a very big hotel and build five NFL broadcast-ready football fields.
Also, where do these guys have training camp? Because with five football fields -- which may or may not exist -- you can't have 32 teams prepare in that one remote location. They would have to be in other remote locations with other quarantined people.
There is no desert island scenario for the NFL. Either the country (and world) stays inside and flattens the heck out of the curve over the next month, or the football season is going to be in trouble.