When the NFL put out word that the hope was to play a 16-game season in full stadiums and start it on time, it was perhaps as aspirational as church-on-Easter.
The fact the league’s top medical voice started interjecting ifs into the conversation shortly thereafter was probably a better sign of the reality of the situation.
Now with the league saying the schedule will be announced by May 9, comes the questions of what exactly will be released.
Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America believes the delay from the normal announcement of the schedule is likely being used to explore alternative versions of the season.
For instance, if the league needed to push back two weeks, a 14-game schedule could be managed by making sure every team has a home game and a road game the first two weeks of the 16-game version. Or if it needs to be shorter, pushing back into October, and reducing byes to get a 12-game version in by January 3.
Of course, as with all such stories that will unfold five months from now, the fact we don’t know what the country will look like then’s the main factor. But the NFL gave itself extra time for a reason, and building contingency plans is the only smart thing to do.