The first NFL game of 2020 will not be on Aug. 6. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has canceled the NFL's preseason opener between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schefter also says the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony scheduled for Aug. 8 is postponed. Both the Hall of Fame game and enshrinement ceremony will be held next year.
For the Cowboys and Steelers, this means they will report to training camp at the same time as the rest of the NFL teams, which will be July 28. Both teams were slated to report to a few days earlier to get ready for the game. Earlier this month, Pro Football Hall of Fame President Dave Baker was on the NFL Network show Good Morning Football and talked about the next move if the Hall of Fame game was canceled.
"Our plan right now is to go forward as if we're going to have a full ceremony ... just like we normally would," Baker said. Baker added they have "five contingency plans that stretch from delaying it for a couple weeks to going all the way to next year. ...Kind of like the game itself, we have a game plan. We're preparing to move forward. But we're also ready if we have to call an audible, to go to any contingency."
The Pro Football Hall of Fame recently reopened after being closed for the first time in its history the last three months. Baker said when the pandemic started to hit on March 11, tickets for the Hall of Fame game went on sale. The tickets were sold out in 22 minutes, and the enshrinement ceremony is nearly a sellout.
This year's Hall of Fame class includes five modern-era players (Steve Atwater, Isaac Bruce, Steve Hutchinson, Edgerrin James, and Troy Polamalu), two coaches (Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson) and three contributors (Steve Sabol, Paul Tagliabue and George Young). There are also 10 senior selections (Harold Carmichael, Jimbo Covert, Bobby Dillon, Cliff Harris, Winston Hill, Alex Karras, Donnie Shell, Duke Slater, Mac Speedie and Ed Sprinkle) that are set to be enshrined on Sept. 18 in a separate ceremony to celebrate the NFL's 100th season.