NFL Reportedly Planning to Play 16-Game Schedule, May Delay 2020 Season

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2020

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 19: A detail view of the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE logo on the goal post stanchion before the AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
David Eulitt/Getty Images

The NFL could delay the start of the 2020 regular season amid concerns over the coronavirus, but the league is still planning to stick with a 16-game season, according to NFL reporter Gary Myers.  

Though the league has not discussed any contingency plans with teams, Myers speculated the playoffs could extend to March.

The global pandemic has forced the NFL to move forward with the NFL draft without fans, while team facilities are closed and player visits have been restricted.

In addition to affecting offseason events, the COVID0-19 pandemic will likely alter the practice schedules for teams with organized team activities and minicamps already delayed indefinitely.

"I would be shocked if we had any kind of offseason program at team facilities," one owner said, per Mark Maske of the Washington Post.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank expects training camp to also be affected but predicted the regular season will still begin on time in September," per Peter King of NBC Sports.

"If I had to speculate now, and I use the word speculate because that’s really all it is, I would say yes," Blank said. "Only because it’s so far away from where we are today. I could easily see camps being shorter, players being tested on a daily basis, things of that nature. No fan attendance. Things like that."

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King also reported the league has "momentum" for pushing the schedule release back to May instead of the usual time in April.

This could provide the NFL with more time to determine if it will need to shorten the regular season.

It's clear there are many options on the table for the league as it tries to navigate the current climate.