The NFL has had to embrace plenty of change this season as it navigates its way through the coronavirus pandemic. The changes were originally intended as a temporary measure to deal with COVID-19 but now players are hoping at least a few of the new modifications stick around.
During a conference call with reporters, player union Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said, “There’s absolutely no reason for us to go back to full-scale [organized team activities], none.”
Organized team activities weren’t the only change Smith addressed. During fall training camp, players stayed at their homes instead of together in a campus-like environment. Coaches typically like the traditional training camp model of having everyone stay in one centralized location to help foster team bonding and focus. After this year’s training camps, players are hoping to stick with the 2020 training camp model.
“You don’t see accountants move into hotels during tax season because they need to pay attention more,” NFL Players Association (NFLPA) president and Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter said, “It doesn’t have any real proof of benefitting anything.”
The NFL and NFLPA recently agreed to forgo a bubble-based 2020 postseason. The NFL released a statement saying that teams may not require players and staff to stay at a hotel during the postseason except for the night before a game.
The league intends to continue daily COVID testing and safety protocols throughout the postseason. Playoff teams will be required to use two aircraft for away game travel, and players, as well as staff, will be required to wear a Kinexon device for contact tracing and social distancing at all times on the road until they return to their hotel.