Will the 2020 NFL Season Actually Start on Time?

Jose Luis Sanchez III

The 2020 NFL season is less than three months from kicking off. 

Or is it?

On Thursday, the NFL cancelled, or rather postponed, the Hall of Fame game between the Steelers and Cowboys. Sure, it is just a measly preseason game and doesn't hold any weight. But the fact of the matter is that the league is proving capable of cancelling/postponing games. They have already shown their hand a bit for preliminary events like OTAs and mini-camp.

Despite the cancellation of the preseason opener, the league remains steadfast that everything is on track. Training camp, for instance, is still poised to open up as "normal".

I wonder about that.

Everyday there are new reports of players testing positive for COVID-19. And with the current trends across the country, the last thing that will looked upon lightly is a massive gathering of people in a facility. Even if teams have easy access to testing, it is still an enormous concern to have.

Now I do believe that the NFL regular season will still take place. The owners are not just going to let all that money flush down the drain like that. Even if they have to play without fans, they will certainly do it. 

Training camp may be on schedule, but will the 2020 NFL regular season actually start on time?

I am starting to have my doubts. If you asked me a week ago, I would have said yes. If you asked me a few days ago, I would have called it a toss up. Now I am skewing towards the foggy side. It is unclear if the NFL will actually start on time.

Because of the lack of clarity, I believe the most compelling answer is that it won't. The last thing the NFL wants to do is to start up when the Coronavirus is still skyrocketing. At that point, the discussion might turn into whether or not there should even be a season.

But I would guess that they would rather cancel games and shorten the season just to see if maybe, just maybe, they can open up. Once again, the league has shown capable of cancelling games. They will do all they can to salvage the cash flow, which is why they approved tarping the front rows for ad space. 

Everything may be on track for training camp to open up, but this is such a precarious situation. Nothing should be taken for face value and everything will need contingencies going forward.

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