NFL reportedly preparing for late start to season, no bye weeks
The official start of football season is still more than four months away, but the NFL is preparing for the possibility of a delayed start to the year like most other major sports leagues.
According to a report from John Ourand and Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal, NFL executives have discussed the possibility of delaying the start of the regular season until mid-October, which would be a roughly six-week delay. If that scenario played out, the plan would be to eliminate bye weeks, cancel the Pro Bowl, and hold the Super Bowl on Feb. 28. In order to prepare for the potential of some sort of delay, the NFL is coming up with several different versions of its regular season schedule.
There are other contingency plans in place, such as delaying the Super Bowl just one week. SBJ reports that NFL officials have had discussions with hosts in Tampa about delaying the Super Bowl. While none of the plans are final, a number of different scenarios are on the table. One of the league’s main goals is to preserve the 16-game schedule, which is why plans are being made to potentially eliminate bye weeks and push everything back if need be.
Despite the uncertainty, the NFL is still planning to release an official 2020 schedule next month that will allow for several different wrinkles. The contingency plans will be emphasized in the release, and it will be made clear that nothing is set in stone.
A separate report claimed the NFL has discussed the idea of playing a shortened season, and that would also be an option if stay-at-home regulations and other mandates remained in place for much longer than expected.