NFL Expected to Release 2020 Schedule No Later Than May 9

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMarch 31, 2020

Rain drops are seen on the NFL logo on padding of a goal post at M&T Bank Stadium during the first half of NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Baltimore. The Ravens won 20-17. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The NFL expects to play a full 16-game regular-season schedule without delays and release the 2020 schedule no later than May 9, NFL executive Jeff Pash told reporters during a Tuesday conference call:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

NFL exec Jeff Pash says on a conference call “our planning, our expectation is fully directed at playing a full season and starting on schedule. … Just as we did in 2019. Am I certain? I’m not certain I’ll be here tomorrow, but I’m planning on it. That’s what we talked about."

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The NFL says the schedule release will likely be around May 9 — no later. So, plan your calendars.

Elsewhere in American professional sports, Major League Soccer, the NBA, the NHL and MLB suspended their 2019-20 seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NFL offseason has been affected in several ways:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Players are prohibited from entering club facilities through March 31 and thus can't have physical exams there. Similar to free agents, clubs can contact a physician near the players' home -- but some teams aren't comfortable with that. Another unusual aspect of this offseason.

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Some NFL teams already had closed facilities; others had very limited personnel in the building. Now, a level playing field amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The memo says teams may continue to conduct all normal business, including signing players.

NFL Network @nflnetwork

"This is how teams are now going to be conducting business." @Rapsheet explains how teams are using FaceTime to meet with prospects ahead of the @NFLDraft 👇 https://t.co/WQcpuE34yM

The 2020 draft will go on as scheduled from April 23 to April 25, just no longer in Las Vegas:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Goodell informed teams they “should be doing the necessary planning to conduct Draft operations in a location outside of your facility, with a limited number of people present, and with sufficient technology resources to....communicate with other clubs and Draft headquarters.” https://t.co/iHaf5d8eJn

The league also announced Tuesday the 2020 season will feature an expanded playoff field from six teams to seven teams per conference:

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

NFL officially expands postseason to 14 teams, creating six total wild-card slots https://t.co/VLiWS4xdiM

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

With only one bye in each conference in the NFL’s new playoff format, it is worth noting this: every Super Bowl participant for the past seven seasons has received a bye. The last team to make it that far without a bye was the 2012 Baltimore Ravens.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

NFL – 14 of 32 teams qualify for playoffs, 43.7 percent of all teams. MLB – 10 of 30 teams qualify for playoffs, 33.3 percent of all teams. NBA – 16 of 30 teams qualify for playoffs, 53.3 percent of all teams. NHL – 16 of 31 teams qualify for playoffs, 51.6 percent of all teams.

It marked the first time the NFL has expanded its playoffs since 1990.

NBC Sports' Peter King reported in his weekly Football Morning in America column there was "momentum" for the 2020 schedule to be released in May.