NFL Hall of Fame Game Canceled: Effects on College Football?

David Visser

August 6. That's when NFL play was slated to begin, with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. But the Cowboys and Steelers will no longer suit up for the contest, as it's been canceled due to COVID-19 effects. The NFL Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony, which was supposed to take place two days later, has been postponed. 

This is the NFL's "Week Zero," with the first preseason week still scheduled to begin seven days later and then the regular season on September 10. 

But that August 6 cancelation of Dallas and Pittsburgh should be of real concern to college football fans hoping to start their seasons on time as well. Florida State and West Virginia, for instance, are supposed to kickoff less than a month later, on September 5 in Atlanta. That game's tie-in to the NFL is stronger than most college openers, as it's scheduled to be played in a pro stadium: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of the Atlanta Falcons. 

It will be interesting to see what happens to the NFL preseason, which is largely used for making decisions about roster moves. The discussion about shortening the four-game schedule has been around long before coronavirus, and the latter may just serve as the impetus to finally make the change. Players have largely supported cutting the preseason in half and playing just two warmup games, while owners aren't necessarily bullish on the prospect of losing out on profits from tickets, concessions, merchandise, and parking. 

The college game, of course, is a whole different story-- every game counts, and there's no preseason of which to speak, save fall camps.