The NFL released its schedule for the 2020 season on Thursday night, but there is the obvious elephant in the room: what if the league cannot start on time due to the coronavirus pandemic?
The league is hopeful it can start the season on time, but actually pushed back the release of the schedule in order to build a contingency plan into it.
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, there are four main points the NFL took into account:
• The NFL can start the season at any given week. So, if the league deems it is not safe to start the season until Oct. 1, the season will pick up with its Week 4 schedule.
• If the season is delayed, games scheduled for the early weeks in the season could be added on following the Jan. 3 Week 17 date.
• Super Bowl LV, which is scheduled for Feb. 7, could be pushed back weeks should the above happen.
• Every team shares the same bye week as their Week 2 opponent. This would help with potential rescheduling of these games mid-season, instead of tacking them on after Week 17.
There is also an even distribution of home and road games through the first four weeks of the season to prepare for a delay.
There is still plenty of time between now and the start of the season, which is Thursday, Sept. 10 as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans in a rematch of the AFC Divisional Round game.
Obviously, there are many variables that could come into play over the next four months, but the league at least seems prepared to absorb some sort of blow to the season early on.
MLB, NBA, and NHL are all still continuing to explore ways it can resume its seasons, which could serve as a test case before the NFL season even begins.