As the number of COVID-19 cases skyrockets across the United States, with an outbreak beginning in the NFL, concerns for the 2020 season are growing. While the league is determined to stick to its schedule, multiple NFL teams are starting to push for a delay.
NFL teams pushing for delay to 2020 season
Just a month before players are scheduled to report for training camp, the NFL is experiencing a significant increase in cases of the coronavirus. As of Sunday, nearly a third of NFL teams reported at least one positive COVID-19 test.
Alarmingly, we are also seeing how quickly the coronavirus can spread with several organizations reporting multiple cases. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are confirmed to have multiple cases and the Denver Broncos had at least two players test positive for COVID-19. In Texas, the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans each had multiple players contract the coronavirus.
“That’s the first place you have to start,” one team executive said, via Sports Illustrated. “I’m big on pushing back.”
Even in April, there was support from Americans to delay the 2020 NFL season. Now with states like Florida, Texas and Arizona reporting record-high COVID-19 cases every day, it seems less likely that the NFL season will start on time.
The NFL has accounted for a potential delay in its 2020 schedule, providing itself the flexibility to move the first four weeks of the regular season into January. In that scenario, the 2020 NFL season would start on Oct. 8.
What happens if the 2020 NFL season is delayed?
If the NFL ultimately decides to push back its schedule, the move would likely eliminate several preseason games and also push back the Super Bowl.
The league is already contemplating shortening the preseason significantly to give players more time to prepare. However, if Week 1 of the regular season is pushed back, then the NFL could alter its training camp and preseason schedule even more.
If that happens, Super Bowl LV could be played in March. The NFL has the option to pick a different date for this year’s Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.