Will the schedule carry clues of possibly shared stadiums?

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When the schedule is released on Thursday night, the specific configuration of 256 regular-season games will be scoured for clues regarding contingency plans that the league surely has formulated, given the pandemic. Some will be obvious. Some may not be.

A sense has been percolating for weeks now that the league will schedule interconference games exclusively during the first four weeks of the season, allowing for the first month to be scrapped and a season of 12 games to determine postseason positioning based solely on games against other teams from the same conference. Whether that’s indeed the case will be known from the moment the sheet is removed from the 2020 schedule.

Other clues may be harder to spot. For example, will the schedule allow for the possibility of certain teams sharing stadiums? If, for example, games can’t be played in California (either in open stadiums or at all), would the three California teams be relocated for the year to places where fans may attend?

The Chargers could play in Phoenix, for example. The Rams could play in Las Vegas. The 49ers could go to Denver. For something like that to happen, the team that usually plays in that stadium and the team that temporarily would be playing in that stadium would need a schedule that doesn’t conflict. Those teams would need to have home games on different weeks or home games separated by one or more days on the same weekend.

The phenomenon could apply on the East Coast, too. What if New York and New Jersey decline to open stadiums or permit teams to play in closed stadiums? The Jets, Giants, and Bills could head to Florida, with their home games played in Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami, not necessarily respectively.

The scheduling process already is complex enough without cross referencing schedules of teams in states that may not open stadiums with teams in states that may. Still, it will be interesting to see whether the schedule leaves the door open for the possibility of a home team in a state expected to be open later this year sharing space with a team from a state that could be closed.

The mere fact of leaving the door opening for doubling up will have another potential impact on the effort to get the games played. If the NFL has the option to relocate teams for 2020 from states that won’t let games proceed to states that will, the league will have real leverage in the inevitable discussions/negotiations with governors and other politicians regarding the effort to get all games played.

16 responses to “Will the schedule carry clues of possibly shared stadiums?

  1. In the case where they may have to eliminate games at beginning of season, I would schedule the 2 intraconference games that are played against teams that finished in the same place in their own division as the first 2 games.

    This way if you have to eliminate 2 games for instance each division team would face the EXACT same teams.

    i.e. – in the case of the AFC North – you schedule the first 2 wks versus the AFC WEST and AFC EAST teams. If those 2 games have to be cancelled then each AFC North team would have 14 games remaining. 6 in division. 4 vs. AFC South and 4 vs. NFC East.

  2. This sounds an awful lot like, “The draft is going to fail because the technology is going to fail and oooh the optics everyone is tone deaf and the sky is falling down.” It’s just a schedule dude.

    I’m not looking for clues. I just hope – in this order – that COVID retreats enough to allow a reasonable new normal and second that we get football in 2020. In that order.

  3. New Jersey not allowing games to be played and not getting to tax players. Not likely.

  4. As a season ticket holder I paid for games in my home stadium and city.
    Won’t be paying for or attending any game at another site.
    No STH should accept any tickets for any neutral site game.
    If the NFL wants to refund us for those neutral site games, fine.
    Then let Goodell try to sell those other sites tickets, I’m not getting stuck with that.

  5. So everyone is excited about the schedule. What difference does it make if fans are not allowed? It really is a moot point then where any of the games are played. Although any games played in Pittsburgh or Buffalo should be viewed as punitive.

  6. They are not worried about local ticket revenue in that case. It’s the TV contracts that bring in the big money.

  7. There’s a stadium right behind the Hall of Fame that’s not used on the weekends with an airport 10 minutes up the road for the east coast teams. Plenty of MAC schools with housing and football stadiums to accommodate teams. On the west coast I’m sure a football town like Boise or Lincoln NE would love to host an NFL team for a year.

  8. If we’re not past this by September I don’t see another month doing much of anything. My prediction is games will be played and outside of screening/testing players nothing will be changed.

  9. I seriously doubt any games will be played in front of fans before October and maybe November. I do think the season will start on time, or will just be mildly tweaked so they can do a full 16-game season.

    The person stating that having fans at games is not a priority is 100 percent correct. The No. 1 priority is fulfilling the TV contract.

  10. The logistics of having NFL games while the virus is still active will be very difficult, no matter where they hope to play the games. If the experts (who use science as basis for their projections)are correct, the presence of the virus and potential for a spike as weather gets colder will present a very challenging mountain to climb.

    The physical issues of sanitation, personal protection, and housing are only the first set of challenges. For games to be feasible there will be a need for constant testing and it would not take many infections to invoke a shutdown.

    No matter how much we want the games (and I do!) the reality of the virus trends will come more into focus by the end of June. At that point we will have a better idea what is – or is not – feasible.

  11. I think of the “LA” Chargers. They would have an unfair advantage by playing in an empty stadium anywhere because they have played for two years in front of “0” fans. This a clearly an unfair advantage and Goodell must address it.

  12. If Eagles home games are moved to Tampa or Orlando, they would draw more fans than the Bucs ever did.

  13. The clues were already reported. Yesterday.

    The first 4 games are going to be games that are the least meaningful of the 16. The example I saw was the AFC East is playing the NFC West this year for their “non-conference” games as per the scheduling formula. So the first 4 games for the Patriots, Jets, Bills, and Dolphins will be, the Rams, 49ers, Cardinals, and Seahawks… The rest of the divisions will follow the same formula. So if we have to cut Sept off the front of the schedule, it wont be the least important 4 games for each team.

  14. NYC had about 2,000 new cases just yesterday. While the initial peak is now in the past, the daily numbers are just flattening out as people stay away.

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