REPORT: 2020 NFL Preseason to be Cut from Four Games to Two
The NFL preseason is reportedly being cut in half from four preseason games to two, according to a report from ProFootballTalk.
PFT's report also says that the scrapped weeks will be Week 1 and Week 4 of the preseason, meaning that the Kansas City Chiefs would lose their matchups against the Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers. In a unique scheduling quirk, without additional readjustments, this would mean that the Chiefs would play two road preseason games — at the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 and at the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3 — and no home games.
However, soon after PFT's report, Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal has reported that the remaining weeks will be rescheduled to allow every team to have one home and one road game in 2020.
A later report from ProFootballTalk notes that "Carolina, Minnesota, Kansas City and Washington are all now scheduled to play two road games. Miami, Buffalo, Dallas and Tampa are now scheduled to play two home games."
There seems to be a pretty easy fix for the Chiefs, then: have Dallas come to KC and solve two imbalances at once.
At home or on the road, this would also prevent the Chiefs from seeing two much-discussed rookie quarterbacks in the preseason: Cincinnati's Joe Burrow in Week 1 and Green Bay's Jordan Love in Week 4.
ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio explained the logic of the bookending games being the ones to take the cut:
The move was driven by two primary factors. First, teams who will be playing preseason games on the road won’t want to move that many people. Second, given that no teams had on-field practice sessions in the offseason, coaches would rather have the extra time to work with their teams, and that will happen if they don’t have to worry about two extra preseason games.
Already, the Week Four preseason game is worthless (or, more accurately, less worthless than the other preseason games). So it’s really only the loss of one preseason game. And the first preseason game doesn’t typically involve much work from starters, anyway.
This is the first major change that the NFL has made due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, following the announcement of the cancellation of the NFL's Hall of Fame Game.
Lindsay Jones of The Athletic tweeted her thoughts after the news, seeming to indicate that the entire preseason could be in danger.
While that may seem like a big step — and in many ways, it is — it should be noted that preseason games are, by far, the most logical major events to cancel in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancelling regular-season games would have substantial impacts both financially and on the 2020 season. If the NFL can be safer by cancelling the entire preseason, that option should certainly be on the table.