The NFL didn’t have to alter any plans last season due to the coronavirus pandemic, and they don’t plan on doing so in 2020 either. On Saturday morning, the league announced they would reveal the 2020 schedule late next week, and that the schedule would not see any significant changes.
ESPN is reporting that the NFL has no intention of changing anything for the upcoming season as of this time. The regular-season opener will take place on September 10, and the Super Bowl is going to be played on February 7, 2021, with the idea that fans will be in attendance.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said that the league does “plan to start on time.”
Last month’s NFL Draft took place remotely as teams set up in different locations around the country. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell set up shop in the basement of his home and called the selections out on a virtual webcast.
Professional sports around the world virtually shut down in mid-March, as the pandemic began to escalate in intensity. The NBA was the first league to cancel games and suspend its season, but the NFL’s year had come to completion at the beginning of February.
A couple of weeks ago, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said the NFL planned on releasing its full season schedule by May 9. While sporting events with fans in attendance are generally not taking place as of this time, the league is hopeful that things will improve by August or September of this year.
Contingency plans are still being looked at for the 2020 NFL season, just in case. Presumably co-ordinating with the NFL Players Association as well as medical experts, the league will likely have have plans in place in case the epidemic intensifies.
One idea that’s been floated is that the regular season could instead begin in mid-October. That plan would come along with no teams having a bye week, and no fans being in attendance at the stadiums.
In-person offseason training activities have already been canceled for all NFL teams. Rookie training camps will take place in late May as usual, but that could always end up changing if it isn’t deemed safe for players to meet.
The NBA and Major League Baseball are already looking at ways to get their suspended seasons going again, but no decisions are permanent yet. With months to go until training camp even starts for NFL teams, the league is hopeful that play will not be significantly delayed.