The NFL is set to release the full schedule for the upcoming 2020 season later this week, devoid of any major changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy told Fowler that they “plan to start on time,” with an expectation of having fans in the stands in the fall.
Still, the league is prepared with contingency plans if more issues arise due to the coronavirus outbreak.
McCarthy also told Fowler that the league will be ready if further complications do arise over the coming months.
“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.
Contingency plans reportedly discussed by the league include starting the season in October without fans, or even playing out the season from a centralized location, a idea that has been already been discussed by the NBA, NHL and MLB to finish their respective seasons.
The schedule release will also include a full preseason slate with the Hall of Fame game, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.It was announced back on March 10th that the Steelers will take on the Dallas Cowboys as part of the celebration in Canton.
There will also be no international games scheduled for the upcoming season, the league announced Monday. Holding all games in the United States will allow for “the entire season to be played in NFL teams’ stadia under consistent protocols focused on the well-being of players, personnel and fans.”
NFL update on 2020 season schedule.— NFL UK (@NFLUK) May 4, 2020
The NFL had planned to play one game at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City and four games in London. Two of the games in the UK would be played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with the other to held at Wembley Stadium.
The Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins had all been announced as home teams for the International Series Games.
As of now, major dates for the 2020 season will remain unchanged. The regular season opener is still set for September 10th, and the Super Bowl is scheduled for February 7th in Tampa.