With the NFL pre-season barely four months away, the league remains hopeful that games can start as scheduled. Even if there ends up being no fans in the stands due to coronavirus social distancing.
While the 2020 NBA season was postponed indefinitely due the coronavirus pandemic, and the Major League Baseball season is still on hold, the NFL hopes to go full steam ahead with their 2020/2021 season. Fortunately for the league, they’ve got four months before preseason games are due to kick off, which means that states can hopefully be under more widespread testing and reopening processes by that point. Though filling a stadium with 60,000 fans won’t be a possibility due to social distancing, it’s still okay with the league, which could hold games without a live crowd present.
Sources tell HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY, “The NFL has all intentions to start the season on time. If they have to play games with no fans they are ready to do so to get the season started on time. They have the benefit to start later in the year, so it is something the owners and the commissioner’s office is looking into week by week to monitor what the world is like by then.”
“But they are optimistic because they have had free agency go very well and the NFL Draft was the biggest ratings they have ever had. And they are determined to play the Super Bowl. While they monitor, if they have to do anything that would make them postpone the season, that will be considered and addressed accordingly. But there is no talk of cancelling the season whatsoever at this point. The owners and the league intend to play,” our insider continues. The 2020 pre-season is scheduled to kick off with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday, Aug. 6 with Dallas taking on Pittsburgh. The rest of the pre-season and full season schedule should be determined no later than May 9.
So far things are looking smooth, as the 2020 NFL draft kicked off on Apr. 23 without a hitch. Albeit everything was done remotely, with players and team owners/coaches/scouts on video from home. But the new NFL rookie class was picked and for that brief moment, life for football fans seemed normal again. Now viewers eager to see how things shake out, between rookies on the field, and major free-agency trades such as six-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady‘s move from his longtime home with the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’ll now be joined by NE’s former star tight end Rob Gronkowski, 30, who has come out of retirement to play alongside Tom with the Bucs in the NFC South.
One major glitch is whether or not teams will be playing in front of semi-full or empty stadiums. Some states are planning to open up sporting events with smaller crowds allowed, while in other states like California, there’s no firm date for sporting events with no audiences currently listed, as the Golden State is taking its phases of reopening much slower.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in mid-April that major sporting events could only happen under heavily restricted circumstances. “There’s a way of doing that,” the White House COVID-19 advisor told Snapchat. “Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [players and other personnel] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled [and] have them tested like every week, and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out.”