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Report: NFL Considering New Super Bowl Date, Canceling Pro Bowl Amid COVID-19

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2020

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 01:  The NFL shield logo is seen following a press conference held by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (not pictured) at the George R. Brown Convention Center on February 1, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

The NFL could potentially push Super Bowl LV back to Feb. 28, 2021, or cancel the Pro Bowl if the COVID-19 pandemic forces the 2020 season to be delayed, according to Sports Business Journal's John Ourand and Ben Fischer.

Ourand and Fischer reported the league is expected to release a standard 17-week regular-season slate, but it recognizes the pandemic could force significant changes:

"Two weeks of early-season games could be shifted wholesale to the end of the season. A third week would feature teams only playing opponents with the same bye week, so that week could be cut and byes eliminated leaguewide.

"These contingency-laden plans also include cutting the weekend between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, where the Pro Bowl is typically played, to allow another week to be lost to delays. Under such a plan, the Pro Bowl would not be played."

Because the league is in its offseason, the pandemic's impact on the NFL has been far less severe compared to the likes of the NHL, MLB and NBA.

The 2020 NFL draft shifted to a remote format, which was generally considered a success, and offseason workouts have gone virtual as well. Otherwise, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn't reached the point where he needs to make firm decisions about the season itself.

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Along the same lines, Goodell and league officials have time to bake any delays into the schedule itself. That's a luxury the other aforementioned leagues weren't afforded.

Super Bowl LV is scheduled for Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Rob Higgins, the executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, said the organization has "been in constant communication with the NFL" and "totally focused on Feb. 7, 2021."

Given the amount of planning that goes into staging the Super Bowl, moving it to another date would present obvious headaches. A Super Bowl in late February would be better than nothing for Tampa, though.

The city already lost out on the revenue it would've received from WrestleMania 36 earlier this month. The pandemic forced WWE to shift its biggest show from Raymond James Stadium to its Performance Center in Orlando.

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