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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.

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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.

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