Report: NFL still planning on full 16-game season despite COVID-19 pandemic

NFL, field
Nov 24, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; General overall view of the NFL shield logo at midfield at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Raiders 34-3. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the globe, the NFL is still pushing forward with its plans for the upcoming season. While all options are on the table if things get worse, the NFL reportedly remains focused on having a full 16-game season in 2020.

According to NFL insider Gary Myers, the NFL has yet to even discuss contingency plans with teams regarding a potential delay of the season. Instead, the league is reportedly making plans for the 2020 NFL season to have a normal 16-game schedule for the regular season with the expanded playoffs.

While the NFL hasn’t discussed potential contingency plans with teams, many personnel around the league are beginning to question if the NFL season starts on time. Multiple coaches reportedly believe the start of the regular season will be delayed and an NFL team president admitted that organized-team activities in June likely won’t happen.

Despite pessimism around the league, the NFL keeps moving forward with its plans. The NFL voted to still hold the NFL Draft from April 23-25 despite objection from general managers. Meanwhile, there is momentum building towards the NFL releasing its schedule for the 2020 season in May.

The optimism from league officials, during the COVID-19 pandemic, seems to reflect that from team ownership. However, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said that while he is hopeful a 16-game season could happen, it might come without fans in attendance.

Closing down team facilities was the league’s first major step to exercise precaution. Ongoing discussions within the NFL for how to use technology in place of practice is another indicator of the direction this is headed. The NFL, like every other sport, is in unprecedented territory due to the pandemic. While a 16-game season might be the plan right now, even with a potential delay, things can change quickly.