The NFL has encountered plenty of challenges this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the 2020 season approaching just three weeks away, however, the league remains plenty confident that there will be a full season.
Following an offseason that saw the league move to a virtual 2020 NFL Draft and nearly 70 players opt-out due to concerns over the coronavirus, things are looking good for the regular season.
Will there be an NFL season?
When the COVID-19 pandemic first started in March, the NFL had plenty of time to prepare for how it would handle the situation. But as the summer drew closer and cases in the United States started to spike once more, many players called out the NFL for failing to create a safe environment to play football.
The concern wasn’t just felt by players. Several coaches and general managers disagreed with the idea of playing amid a pandemic and the league received additional criticism from team personnel for the lack of planning early this summer.
Fortunately, with training camp well underway and the NFL Kickoff Game set for Sept. 10 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, everyone is feeling much better about playing football this fall.
Multiple NFL executives and team personnel told Bleacher Report’s Kalyn Kahler that they feel extremely confident there will be a full 2020 season.
The concern many had before players arrived for training camp and COVID-19 testing began faded away with everyone stepping up to create a safe environment.
NFL players secured a crucial victory in July when the league agreed to daily COVID-19 testing. When the daily testing window was set to expire, the NFL extended it until just before the regular season begins.
Between strict social distancing guidelines, players being responsible away from the field and great safety protocols, things are headed in the right direction. The NFL’s COVID-19 test results are even better than expected.
Will fans be allowed at NFL games this season?
More than one-third of the way through its season, MLB is still not ready to allow fans into stadiums due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that ban might stretch into September. It’s especially notable given the NFL is more popular and at a time when teams are announcing their plans for fan attendance this year.
The New England Patriots announced Tuesday that fans wouldn’t be permitted to attend games at Gillette Stadium for the first two home contests. They joined the New York Giants, New York Jets, Las Vegas Raiders and the Washington Football Team in a growing list of teams who are banning fan attendance to start the regular season.
When the NFL season kicks off at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs will have a significantly reduced crowd size for the opener. They are joined by the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys in dramatically cutting down on stadium capacity this season.
All of this could lead to the NFL losing billions of dollars in potential revenue. Fortunately, thanks to television deals, an expanded playoff field and some creative advertising, the NFL will do just fine financially.