NFL set to release full 17-week schedule next week, league spokesman says
Jeremy Fowler reports the latest on the NFL’s plans for the schedule this season, including a Sept. 10 opener. (1:08)
The NFL isn’t altering its fall plans.
The league will release its 2020 schedule late next week without any major changes, league spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed — including a Sept. 10 opener, the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 and visions of fans in the stands.
“We plan to start on time,” McCarthy said.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported in mid-April that the league planned to release its schedule, based on a full season, by May 9. NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent told The Associated Press this week that the league is doing “reasonable and responsible planning” regarding health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Not only is the NFL planning to release its regular-season schedule, but it is also plans to release its preseason schedule as well, including the Hall-of-Fame game, McCarthy told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“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.
“We made adjustments and conducted safely and efficiently key offseason activities such as free agency, the virtual off-season program and the 2020 NFL Draft.”
The league has evaluated contingency plans should the pandemic intensify, working in conjunction with the NFL Players Association and medical experts on a set of protocols.
One of those contingencies is delaying the season until mid-October, according to the Sports Business Journal. Empty stadiums and no bye weeks have long been discussed.
One option not on the table, a source told ESPN, is gathering players at a centralized location to execute a season. The NBA and Major League Baseball have discussed playing at a neutral site such as Walt Disney World, Las Vegas or Arizona, but the NFL doesn’t plan to do that.
The NFL schedule is not expected to include an influx of Saturday games, despite uncertainty about whether college football can start its season on time.
The league is evaluating when players can reenter team facilities. The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to keep buildings closed until every state in which a team resides lifts its stay-at-home mandate. Teams are prepared to conduct offseason workouts and June minicamps virtually.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will not accept a salary during the pandemic. The league raised more than $100 million for coronavirus relief during the NFL draft.