The NFL and NFLPA are exploring the possibility this week of each team playing two preseason games this August instead of the usual four according to NFL reporter Tom Pelissero. Based on his report Wednesday, the discussions over shortening the 2020 preseason have just begun and no changes are imminent.
Cancelling preseason games will have ramifications for players on the roster bubble and owners, but it's just the latest way the NFL is trying to mitigate the risk against the coronavirus. The league has already canceled its International Series and has built in a contingency plan for early next year that features cancelling the Pro Bowl if COVID-19 is ravaging the country again like it did in March and April.
On Monday, the league released a memo of guidelines to follow in order to keep players safe and healthy once they return to team facilities. The guidelines included creating six-feet of space between each player in the locker rooms and only holding team meetings virtually or outside with everyone wearing a mask. Team facilities opened to head coaches last week, but more than half still continued to work from home according to the Associated Press and a vast majority of the players have yet to return.
After Pelissero released his report Wednesday, a joke circulated around Twitter that "literally everyone" is in favor of cutting the preseason in half and that it should be a permanent change. Fewer preseason games would be great for fans and veteran players, but it's not a good thing for players trying to earn a spot on the roster because they will have fewer opportunities to prove themselves. NFL teams find diamonds in the rough every preseason, and that will be harder to do with only two games.
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Furthermore, owners will lose money with one fewer home game as the result of two preseason weeks instead of four. While that's a win for season-ticket holders, it could indirectly hurt players' salaries down the road, or it could raise prices on some other service the NFL offers in order for the league to make back the lost profits.
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