The only major American sport that had not lost a game yet to the coronavirus pandemic may finally be getting affected and seeing its schedule changed.
Multiple outlines like ESPN are reported that the NFL will shorten this year’s preseason from four to two games to give players who would have worked out by now but haven’t a better chance to be prepared for the season. The NFL said no decision has been made or even endorsed by the NFL Players Association, as some members are in favor of playing no preseason games ahead of the 2020 NFL season. The league said a call between the league and union later today (Thursday) would clarify the situation.
The league would essentially cancel the first and last August preseason game. The league had already canceled the Hall of Fame Game, traditionally the first preseason game, between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, and the annual Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies on Aug. 6 and 8, and moved them to 2021.
The NFL on Thursday advised its teams to expect an on-time start for training camps on or July 28, depending on the team. Now, the first preseason games won’t be played until Aug. 20-24. The second week of preseason games is scheduled for Aug. 27-31. Some re-shuffling of the original preseason schedule for Weeks 2 and 3 will occur so each team will play one home game and one road game.
The NFL and it’s Players Association continue to discuss protocols for reopening team facilities, what its testing programs and other matters related to playing amid a pandemic, like travel. New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts have mandated that people coming from states where coronavirus cases are spiking, like Florida and Texas, to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.