The NFL is planning on the 2020 season starting on time, and fans are expected to pack the stadiums. However, if the coronavirus pandemic is still an issue by the time the season is scheduled to begin, the league has an alternate plan it can go to. According to the Washington Post, the NFL has a contingency plan, which includes a shortened schedule, and playing games in empty stadiums or stadiums that are partially empty.
"As we have said, we are committed to protecting the health of our fans, players, club and league personnel, and communities," the NFL said in a statement to the Post. "We look forward to the 2020 NFL season, and our guidelines and decisions will be guided by the latest advice from medical and public health officials, as well as current and future government regulations. We will continue to plan for the season and will be prepared to adjust as necessary, just as we have done with free agency, the draft, and now the offseason program."
Earlier this month, Jeff Pash, the NFL's executive vice president, general counsel told reporters the league's medical executives have been show different projections when it comes to coronavirus pandemic. Pash said: "All of our discussion, all of our focus, has been on a normal traditional season, starting on time, playing in front of fans, in our regular stadiums, and going through a full 16-game regular season and full set of playoffs. That's our focus."0comments
The NFL scheduled is normally released around this time during the year. However, due to the circumstances, the schedule won't be released into May 9, and it will be a full 16-game schedule for all 32 teams. As for the NFL Draft, it will go on as scheduled, but it will be all virtual. The offseason program will be virtual as well, and then we could see the NFL make a decision about the 2020 season in June when steams start reporting for training camp.
If the league does shorten the season, how many games will each team play? Does this mean the international games are canceled? And with the playoffs being expanded to 14 teams, will that be adjusted? There are still a lot of questions the NFL will have the answer in the coming weeks.