NFL Considering Pushing Back Super Bowl, Canceling Pro Bowl Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

As of now, the 2020 NFL season will start in early September. However, that could change if the coronavirus pandemic is still going on, which is something the NFL is prepared for if that happens. According to John Ourand and Ben Fischer of the Sports Business Journal, the NFL has a few contingency plans for the 2020 season in case it has to be delayed. In one version, the start of the season would be pushed back five weeks which would lead to the Super Bowl being played on Feb. 28 instead of Feb. 7. It's also possible the Pro Bowl would be canceled.

"Two weeks of early-season games could be shifted wholesale to the end of the season," Ourand and Fischer wrote. "A third week would feature teams only playing opponents with the same bye week, so that week could be cut and byes eliminated league-wide. These contingency-laden plans also include cutting the weekend between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, where the Pro Bowl is typically played, to allow another week to be lost to delays. Under such a plan, the Pro Bowl would not be played."

The NFL plans to release a full 17-week schedule by next month, but the league recognizes the schedule can change if parts of the country are still not open. This comes on the heels of the Washington Post reporting the league could shorten the season and play 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 Washington 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."

The Tampa Bay Sports Commission have been in communication with the NFL, and the focus is to have the Super Bowl on Feb. 7. If the Super Bowl had to be pushed back, it would be challenging considering it takes years to prepare. At the same time, it's better to push the date back than to not have it at all.