The league will release its 2020 calendar at the end of next week without any major changes, confirmed league spokesperson Brian McCarthy – including an opening game on September 10, the Super Bowl on February 7 and visions of fans in the stands.
“We plan to start on time,” said McCarthy.
In mid-April, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen announced that the league plans to release its full-season schedule before May 9. NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent told The Associated Press this week that the league was doing “reasonable and responsible planning” regarding health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
The league has assessed emergency plans in the event of an intensified pandemic, in collaboration with the NFL Players Association and medical experts on a set of protocols.
One such event delays the season until mid-October, according to the Sports Business Journal. Empty stages and weeks off have long been discussed.
One option that is not on the table, a source told ESPN, is to bring players together in one central location to run a season. The NBA and Major League Baseball have discussed playing on a neutral site like Walt Disney World, Las Vegas or Arizona, but the NFL has no plans to do so.
The NFL schedule is not expected to include an influx of Saturday games, despite uncertainty as to whether college football can start its season on time.
The league assesses when players can return to the team facilities. The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to keep the buildings closed until each state in which a team resides loses its mandate to stay at home. Teams are ready to virtually conduct off-season training and June mini-camps.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will not accept wages during the pandemic. The league has raised over $ 100 million for coronavirus relief during the NFL draft.