At least one professional sports league plans on maintaining the schedule it already had set in place before the coronavirus pandemic put a halt on life.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the NFL plans to start its 2020 season on time with the full schedule set to be released later next week.
“We plan to start on time,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said, according to ESPN.
NFL schedule drop to include full 17-week slate, with visions of fans in the stands.
League is not considering centralized location for games.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 2, 2020
The NFL still plans on kicking off its 2020 season with a Sept. 10 start date and concluding with a Super Bowl on Feb. 7, 2021. The league is even planning on holding its regular preseason schedule, as well, according to Adam Schefter.
While the possibility of fans attending some of these early season games is going to be a bit unrealistic, the hope of filling a stadium for the Super Bowl is still very much alive. One idea the NFL is not considering, according to ESPN, is holding players in one centralized area, much like the NBA is considering with locations such as Walt Disney World or Las Vegas as they try to finish the currently postponed 2019-20 season.
“If we have to make adjustments, we will be prepared to do so based on the latest guidance from our medical experts and public health officials and current and future government regulations,” McCarthy said.
The league has already said they won’t allow teams to return to practice facilities until every state has lifted their stay-at-home mandates. In the same article by ESPN, NFL teams are apparently ready to go through the next few months of offseason activities virtually, similarly to how they executed the 2020 NFL Draft. One of the NFL’s contingency plans, according to the Sports Business Journal, is delaying the start of the season until Oct. 15 with a Super Bowl scheduled for Feb. 28, 2021.
Even though it could be a while before fans are allowed to attend games, the NFL clearly wants to get things back to normal as soon as possible. Saying the season will start on time is a lot easier said than done, however. The Players Association is going to have to sign off on everything. Ensuring the safety of every player, staff member, and stadium employee is going to be an insanely difficult task. The NFL can release the schedule as they hope it will play out, but just know there is a good chance it could all change in the blink of an eye.