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#pounditFriday, June 21, 2024

Report: NFL officials have discussed possible shortened season, games without fans

Roger Goodell

Though the scheduled start of the NFL regular season is still roughly five months away, contingency plans are already being developed for if the coronavirus pandemic is still impacting sports in September.

According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, various scenarios are being looked at by league officials for the 2020 season. Everything is on the table, from playing games in front of full stadiums to games without fans to a potentially shortened schedule.

“I don’t know if it’ll be a one-third-filled stadium, a half-filled stadium or whatever,” one individual familiar with the league’s planning said Wednesday. “The NFL is planning for everything from playing without fans to playing with full stadiums. We know there will be a push from the [federal] government to open things up. I think we’re going to have fans in the stands.”

The individual said the NFL would not be the first sport to return, noting that “the other leagues have to go first.” The 2020 schedule release will also have built-in flexibility in the event that the start of the season is delayed.

The reality is that sports may have to go without fans for a while if they want to play games. That situation could certainly change by September, particularly if widespread testing is available by that point. Right now, we simply don’t know yet.

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