NFL fans will see a little less football in August. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the NFL 2020 preseason will be cut in half, which means each team will now play two games instead of four. Florio reports The league has canceled Week 1 and Week 4, with an announcement expected on Thursday. This move was reportedly made because of players not being able to have workouts together due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This shortening is not a big surprise considering the Pro Football Hall of Fame game was canceled, and that game was supposed to be played on Aug. 6. Onlookers expect players to report to training camp on July 28, but if the report is accurate, teams won't start playing the preseason games until the week of Aug. 20-24. The preseason will end the following week, and the regular season will kick off on Sept. 10.
With the NFL cutting the preseason games in half, the next question is, will the teams play in front of empty stadiums? With the growing cases of COVID-19 all over the country, that's likely going to happen. However, the NFL has yet to decide on fans at games this season. In a May episode of The Brian Mitchell Show, Troy Vincent, the NFL executive vice president of football operations, said the league plans to have full stadiums at the start of the year.
"We are planning to have full stadiums until the medical community tells us otherwise," Vincent said. "Now remember when we're talking — we're talking about September, August, September. So there's a lot that can happen here. So we're planning for full stadiums." Vincent also said the NFL has plans in place just in case teams can host fans this fall.
"So we're planning for all of these different scenarios," he added. "But first and foremost, we're making every effort, working with the medical community, if we can have those stadiums with all people until they tell us otherwise when that time comes, that's our plan." With the pandemic starting earlier this year, the NFL hasn't been affected by it a great deal since it was the offseason. However, the league had to cancel the NFL Draft in Las Vegas and have it virtually instead. Also, teams closed their facilities in the spring to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.