When the NFL announces its schedule on or about May 9, it will look normal.
However, we all know nothing is normal right now. The NFL is ready to adjust as needed to any disruptions the coronavirus outbreak causes.
John Ourand and Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily outlined some of the potential contingency plans associated with the 2020 regular season, and some of them would be startling.
Then again, nothing would be shocking after all the changes we’ve seen in sports the past couple months.
Skipping Pro Bowl among possible changes
Among the potential changes outlined in the Sports Business Daily story:
The NFL could move the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay from Feb. 7 to another Sunday in February. The story said the league wants to keep the Super Bowl in February, meaning Feb. 28 would be possible.
The NFL could eliminate the bye week between the conference championships and Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl is usually played in that bye week, and if the bye week is eliminated, the Pro Bowl would be, too.
The season could be delayed until Oct. 15.
The NFL could shift the schedule for two early weeks to the end of the season. A third week would have teams against opponents with the same bye week, so that week could be erased and all regular-season bye weeks would be eliminated.
Of course, the NFL doesn’t want to use any of these contingency plans. But the league is being realistic.
NFL could have challenges this season
Even if the schedule has alternate plans built into it, there’s no guarantee that will solve every problem.
States could restrict events, putting the NFL in a difficult spot of figuring out what to do with certain teams. For example, if California wouldn’t allow games, would the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams play nothing but road games?
We also don’t know if Oct. 15 will be any different than Sept. 10, which is the current scheduled start date for the NFL. Any projected starting date is a guess at this point.
The NFL schedule will be released in May, and the optimistic plan will look like every other NFL schedule. But it will not be that easy this year.
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