NFL still plans to release full schedule in early May, with possibly adjustments later
The NFL is moving forward with its plans to release a full schedule for the 2020 season by May 9, per Chris Mortensen of ESPN. The decision comes with the knowledge that the schedule that does get produced may very well need to be changed due to the fallout of Covid-19 and its impact on the sports landscape.
The NFL still plans to release 2020 schedule by May 9, based on a full season, per league sources. Adjustments to the schedule will be made, as and if necessary, the sources said. Contingencies remain in discussion.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) April 16, 2020
The largest bugaboo facing the NFL is the prospect of playing games in stadiums without fans. It would be an unprecedented decision, one that the league has not yet ruled out.
As it stands, the NFL Draft — which is set to take place from April 23-25 — will be held without fans, and will also essentially be a telecommunications event for many franchises. Major League Baseball, the NHL and NBA have all had their regular seasons shelved for the time being, while there is growing pessimism over the viability of getting in a full college football schedule by the fall, which has additional ramifications for the NFL moving into 2021 on numerous levels.
Additionally, getting state governments from all 32 teams to comply with a set outline of boundaries remains an obstacle. While MLB and the NBA have proposed holding their leagues in one or two states (also with empty venues), the NFL’s release of the full schedule is an optimistic attempt at pushing forward during a global pandemic.
The NFL has stuck to its course thus far. By not moving free agency, nor the NFL Draft, the league remains on pace to open with a full schedule in September. Whether that actually takes place remains to be seen.