The NFL has plans to release its schedule for the upcoming season this week but could consider delaying the start to hold out hope of playing in front of fans, according to what teams have told The MMQB's Albert Breer.
"Could the NFL move its schedule back, too? I don’t think it’s crazy to consider. Two teams estimated to me that, on average, NFL clubs would lose about $100 million apiece in local revenue if the season was played without fans in the stands. So when I asked if, given the choice, those in charge would rather start Sept. 1 without fans or Nov. 1 with them, one NFC team exec didn’t mince words: “I don’t think it’s even a question. If you could play a full season with fans, I don’t see how you don’t go that way. The economic impact is too major. If it’s possible to play it with fans by pushing it back, I don’t even see what we’d be discussing.”
The season is reportedly slated to begin on Sept. 10 with 16 games played over 17 weeks. The Super Bowl would be held on Feb. 7 in Tampa. The NFL has been putting together a contingency plan to change course if the coronavirus pandemic is not under control in time.
The Super Bowl could also be pushed back, if needed. As noted by Breer, host cities also submit alternative days to hold the game, in case of a change.
"How far could the league move the Super Bowl back? It’s a fair question. A source told me that the league requires, with every Super Bowl bid, that cities hold extra dates in case the game has to be moved. So Tampa presumably has those. That said, one team exec told me the league probably wouldn’t want to move the Super Bowl past the start of the 2021 league year, which comes in mid-March. Moving that date would require negotiation with the union."
The NFL and NFL Players Association have a COVID-19 task force that is currently monitoring and assessing when it may be safe to return to facilities.