Unlike several other pro sports leagues, the NFL will not conduct its season in a "bubble" to combat the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That won't stop some teams, such as the New Orleans Saints, from creating one on their own.
Beginning Wednesday, the team is renting four full floors of the Loews Hotel in New Orleans for players, staff and other personnel to inhabit until the season opens. Team owner Gayle Benson is paying the bill.
"It’s not a bubble,” coach Sean Payton told NBC Sports over the weekend. “It’s a sequester. The message from the league is, ‘The show must go on.’ If so, we’ve got to do everything we can to be sure that happens.”
Sean Payton has been coaching the Saints since 2006. (Photo: Scott Clause, The Advertiser-USA TODAY NETWORK)
While no individual will be forced to stay, Payton estimated that 150 of the Saints' 180 employees will quarantine at the Loews.
No Saints players have tested positive for coronavirus since testing began last week.
"It’s like creating a game plan with a likelihood of success," Payton told NBC Sports. "We’re just trying to increase the odds of success."
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