The NFL has released the 2020 schedule, but with the Coronavirus pandemic still prevalent, it’s entirely possible that the league may have to adjust the league calendar.
Along with the full 256-game regular season schedule, the NFL has released its scheduling flexibility guidelines if the start of the season is pushed back.
Here is the NFL's schedule flexibility for coronavirus pandemic pic.twitter.com/02R0MLXFWE— The Ringer (@ringer) May 8, 2020
If the start of the season is pushed back, the games that would be impacted by that will just be pushed back to the weeks after Week 17. For example, if the first three weeks are delayed, the Bengals will begin the season with their Week 4 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The first three games they were originally scheduled to play will occur after the season was originally supposed to end.
This would also impact when the playoffs and Super Bowl LV happen. The postseason is eligible to be pushed back multiple weeks, but what would be the cutoff point for when they’d just have to cancel the season altogether?
What’s notable here is that there’s no plan if the league has to pause operations during the season after it began under normal conditions. What if things are fine for five weeks and then a player gets infected? Would operations get suspended NBA-style and team-wide quarantines ensue?
Right now, we have some answers, but more questions have spawned from those answers. The NFL is banking on the season starting on time and everything running smoothly, and hopefully that ends up being reality.