Major League Baseball chose to suspend the Miami Marlins season for at least a week after a COVID-19 outbreak included 14 players.
The NFL is still discussing what it would take to make a similar step, as teams report to training camps this week and players go through the first round of many tests.
According to Jarrett Bell of USA Today, the league is still working through contingency plans for what could trigger a suspension of play for a team or the league as a whole.
Factors which could cause a postponement include an entire position group being hit by a COVID-19 outbreak, or 10 or more games being impacted in a given week, which could cause a rescheduling. If six or more teams were unable to play for multiple weeks, suspending the season has been discussed.
That’s a high bar, considering baseball is largely marching forward with its fingers crossed after one team was hit.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has clearly adjusted his language when talking about the season, referring to a “complete season” rather than a full one, acknowledging the possibility that games might have to be missed.
If that happens, the league might have to rely on winning percentage to determine playoff seedings, if teams don’t play the same amount of games.
These discussions are ongoing, and teams have been told a final decision on such policies will come by the first week of the regular season. But watching baseball forced to adjust on the fly a week into its return makes it clear the NFL needs to have a plan in place, and be ready to adjust as the season goes on.