The NFL will release the 2020 game schedule next week, and despite talk of alternative scheduling or a late start because of the coronavirus, it is expected to be a business-as-usual slate.
ESPN reported Saturday that the 17-week season will open Sept. 10 and close with the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 in Tampa, Fla., citing league spokesman Brian McCarthy.
“We plan to start on time,” McCarthy said.
The league has discussed contingency plans, however.
Sports Business Daily reported Monday that the NFL was forming contingency plans in case its schedule of games needs to be altered, including delaying season openers by more than a month and moving the Super Bowl to the end of February.
It’s unclear whether the coronavirus outbreak will ease enough to allow fans in the stands. ESPN said the NFL won’t hunker players in specific locations to play the season, as the NHL, MLB and NBA have discussed.
ESPN also reported that the schedule isn’t expected to include early season Saturday games. It had been speculated the NFL might schedule games on Saturday since the college football season remains up in the air.
In the meantime, NFL facilities remain closed, and teams have begun holding virtual workouts.
—Field Level Media