In the last couple days we’ve found out that the NFL intends to block off the first few rows of stadiums during games and that the preseason kickoff, the Hall of Fame Game, has been cancelled. The normal offseason workout schedule was severely altered the last few months, but as of right now these are the only reported instances where the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected the league’s 2020 schedule. In fact, the latest report is that training camps will begin as expected in July.
There’s no doubt the NFL has gone through countless scenarios and have multiple plans in place, but they also will be able to watch how the other sports leagues navigate the situation before making any decisions.
We asked our staff a few questions pertaining to the NFL season in a recent round table discussion.
In the wake of the latest COVID-19 news, do you think the NFL will be able to pull off a full season’s slate of games?
Ken Mitchell - I give the league a 3 in 10 chance the league can play all games, because I think camp is going to lead to a lot of infections and that will affect the start of the season. Purely a guess, but that’s what I’m thinking.
Jeff Berckes - I don’t think we know enough about the league’s plans to make an informed choice here. If they go down the “bubble” route where the NFL apparatus is isolated as much as possible to keep the virus out of the league system, then I think it can be done. I haven’t heard of any plans to go in that direction.
Bill Zimmerman - It’s too early to tell but it is certainly trending against a full NFL season. Cases are climbing, the NFL has too many players and staff to try the bubble approach, and it doesn’t seem like they’ll be able to keep the cases down once they filter into the team facilities which will be inevitable. Things can change in a couple of months in terms of early detection and treatment, but as of now, a full NFL season certainly seems to be a challenge. The NFL would be wise to start a “wear a mask” campaign. “If you want NFL football, wear a mask.” Help the sport out in that regard and also, and more importantly, help the country.
Robert Zeglinski - I’m not certain the NFL gets to Week 1. The United States has bungled its response to the virus far too much to say now, in late June and early July, that a sports league will be able to push on happily in September. The only way the NFL has a full slate of games is if it disregards all medical information and pushes on anyway (a possibility!), if the American response to the virus somehow dramatically improves over the next two months, or if the virus is eradicated altogether. The first is by far the most likely (and only plausible) scenario, and even then I don’t think NFL owners would be so brazen with their blinders. But that’s probably more my heart than head talking.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter - As of this moment, I do believe the NFL will be able to host a full season’s slate of games. At the same time I doubt very strongly that every game will have fans in attendance. I would expect the pre-season to turn into televised scrimmages instead of “games” between each team. And, I will not be surprised if the first quarter of the season has a strict limit on fan attendance and the policies thereof.
Sam Householder - No shot. Numbers are rising everywhere, as other sports, namely NBA and MLB are preparing to reboot, they’re seeing their athletes come back with positive tests. It’s going to keep going and it won’t take much to decimate some NFL team before they can even get going.
Jacob Infante - I really think most of the country - the NFL included - is downplaying the presence COVID still has. While Illinois has generally been one of the more efficient states in terms of “flattening the curve”, a lot of the country has started opening up and living life as normal a lot earlier than we have. After a steady, albeit not drastic, decrease in new cases across the country since March, the rise in new cases has gone up significantly in June. We’re seeing with college football teams just how much the virus can and will continue to spread, and there’s no reason to think it won’t happen with NFL teams. That said, I don’t expect a full 16-game season to come to fruition.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. - I think it’s too early to tell, and once we see how the NBA and MLB deal with things we’ll have a better idea, but my gut tells me that the NFL will find a way to play the most of the regular season schedule. There’s just too much money involved to shut it down entirely, and ultimately greed will win out unless there’s a mandate that events can’t be held in certain states.
Editor’s note: The COVID-19 pandemic is a subject that requires sensitivity and care. Many families and people have already been impacted by this crisis as it unfolds. This is a reminder to please express yourself respectfully while also exercising common courtesy in interactions with one another in the comments. All WCG commentary guidelines remain in effect and apply especially. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.
Do you think the NFL will play a full regular season schedule in 2020?
This poll is closed