NFL Insists 2020 Season Will Be Played as Scheduled, But Will It?
Note: This story is from SI.com's Jenny Vrentas. For the full story, CLICK HERE.
The NFL is resolute that its 2020 season will proceed as normal—or at least the league is resolute on saying so publicly.
Jeff Pash, the NFL’s general counsel, told reporters on a conference call Tuesday afternoon that “all of our discussions, all of our focus, has been on a normal, traditional season starting on time, playing in front of fans in our regular stadiums.” The NFL regular season is scheduled to start a little more than five months from now, and projecting a month or even a week out has proved to be a fool’s errand during the coronavirus pandemic. But the league plans to release its 2020 schedule no later than May 9 (just a short delay from the usual April schedule release), and Pash said that the schedule is expected include international games.
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The NFL just wrapped two days of conference calls in lieu of the league meetings that would have taken place in Florida this week, one with team presidents and one with club owners. In the media call directly following the owners’ call, Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, referenced the need to make contingency plans and communicate those to clubs. But Pash, prompted by a league spokesperson to jump in, followed up by saying there was no discussion in either call about a shortened season or any change to the structure of the season — despite the global health crisis that has led to a one-year postponement of the 2020 Olympics and the suspension of every major sports league in America.
Pash was pressed multiple times about potential adjustments to the season: Could games be played in front of no fans? Could the start date be postponed? Each time, he deferred back to his statement that they are planning for a regular, complete season, “similar to what we play every other year.”