NFL schedule hints at determination to conduct Week One, then reassess

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The NFL’s regular-season schedule surprisingly opens with a bang. In a year during which the NFL could have loaded up the first weekend with so-so games and fans would have lapped it up like malnourished kittens, the league has instead loaded nine division games into Week One.

From the banner raising in Kansas City featuring a return visit from the Houston Texans to the first NFC South meeting between Drew Brees and #Tommy to the christening of the new L.A. stadium with a visit from the Cowboys to an intriguing Monday night doubleheader that opens with two of the league’s most storied franchises (Steelers and Giants) to everything in between (Packers at Vikings, Seahawks at Falcons), it will be a great start to the 2020 season.

The placement of so many great games in Week One suggests that the league is determined to play Week One. As one source with knowledge of the situation explained it to PFT, the league is definitely committed to and focused on executing the first weekend of the regular season.

Similarly, the next two weeks after Week Two contain the kind of flexibility that would allow the league to regroup after Week One and, if necessary, to press pause. The teams that play in Week Two all have byes in the same weekend, allowing each game to be postponed to a week when the teams otherwise would be off.

Week Three has no division games. Week Four has no division games. If necessary, those weeks could be postponed until after Week 17 or scrapped. By Week Five, however, the division games resume and lost games would have a greater competitive impact.

Thus, the first four weeks of the season suggest that the league can and will proceed with Week One, and that if necessary the league will postpone or cancel the next week or two. Or, at most, three.

It makes sense. Play a slate of games. Monitor the reaction, from a political, P.R., and medical standpoint. Scrap Week Two and push the specific games to the various bye week, if need be. Move Week Three to the week after Week 17. Move Week Four to the week after what would become Week 18.

Then there’s this: By pushing everything back by two total weeks, the Super Bowl would land on President’s Day weekend.

The psychology of this approach is simple. Give the nation a taste of football, make adjustments if required by one or more of the various forms of potential fallout, and assume that the collective groundswell will force football back into action, with the season resuming after missing up to three weeks.

Regardless of whether that’s what happens, the structure of the early weeks of the season suggest that the schedule was specifically engineered to allow for this possibility. Which shows that the league has indeed thought things through carefully, and that the league has plans that won’t be disclosed until the league implements them.

28 responses to “NFL schedule hints at determination to conduct Week One, then reassess

  1. Just play the damn schedule. Geez. The sky isn’t falling folks. Life goes on.

  2. Perhaps there are a few things the NFL hasn’t considered:
    1) By the opening of training camps in July it will be abundantly clear that the virus has not abated, and with reopening states and economies the level of infection and deaths will rise. This will likely wipe out training camps and exhibition games which will threaten the start of the season.

    2) The closer it gets to training camp there will be pushback by players and other personnel about workplace safety.

    3) The NFL has put much on the line in its new Los Angeles NFL showcase, home of the Rams and the Chargers–this has been talked about since the Rams left LA. The NFL has left itself with two, maybe three bad options. They have chosen to open up a multi-billion dollar stadium with possibly no fans in the seats. This is a very strong possibility and a questionable look for a showcase. The other scenario is a canceled opening of a new stadium. The worst scenario is the NFL opens in LA to a huge sold-out crowd and it becomes a virus hotspot.

    The optimism in an NFL season as reflected by the Commissioner and the media is so short sighted it is hard to fathom. Maybe it’s not, because the NFL only sees dollar signs and nothing else, not player safety, not the health of fans and workers.

    Maybe the NFL will pull out a miracle and the coronavirus will disappear by Sept. 10. For the sake of players, workers and fans that would be the best news.

  3. Since showing symptoms takes up to 14 days…

    Shouldn’t they have made “bye week” matching scheduled games for Week 3?

  4. “Monitor the reaction from a political, P.R., and medical standpoint”

    The league doesn’t care about the “reaction” from a “political” or “P.R.” standpoint.

    The ONLY thing that would cause them to “scrap” games would be a safety risk from a medical standpoint.

    It may be news to you, but the NFL doesn’t care what you think, nor should they.

    I can also promise you that the NFL doesn’t care about having the Super Bowl on President’s Day weekend.

  5. joetoronto says:
    May 8, 2020 at 9:27 pm
    Patriot fans rooting for the season to be cancelled.
    With that team, I don’t blame you.

  6. The league’s scheduling buys them the opportunity to push the season start back a month. Reschedule week 1 games to the week after week 17 (lots of divisional games for the “new” season end), move week 2 games to the bye week that was planned for, and skip week 3 and 4 games all together (no divisional matchups).

  7. The NFL is investigating the impact of playing games with no fans in the stands.
    The Cleveland Browns have been hired at consultants.

  8. IMO the first 4 weeks of the season should have been scheduled against the opposite conference. That way IF the league started late, it would have been fair to all teams. If those 4 games got pushed to the end of the season, it would be mid to late January/February.
    Good luck playing any of those 4 games in Chicago/Cleveland/Pittsburgh/NY x 2/Buffalo/NE/Cincy.

  9. I like the SB played on Presidents Day weekend. Finally a National Holiday the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday.

  10. The need to play the games , I work construction on a Jobsite with 1000 workers building 15 million dollar condos , this is apparently essential work, if we can do it so can an NFL team. if players are sick bring in more players , simple, the country needs something to route for

  11. This will be without a doubt the worst brand of NFL football we have seen since the scab year


    The NFL has backup plans on backup plans. For weeks you kept criticizing the league for continuing “business as usual”, but as we see with the schedule, they HAVE thought of multiple contingencies and are prepared.

    They just don’t need to tell you guys UNTIL NECESSARY.

  13. N95 MASK with your favorite team’s logo on the front… who can resist?

  14. By September there should be no reason for states to have already been open for weeks if not months. The question the lockdown people never can seem to answer is when does the lockdown end? Opening up now will involve spikes in positive tests, but that is going to happen whether it is next week or next year. The virus isn’t going anywhere and if you are under 60 and healthy, you will be fine. This country needs something to bring it together. Football can be that thing. For the sake of the country football needs to find a way to be played, even if it is not with fans.

  15. I swear its almost like PFT doesn’t want the season to happen. I am not one of the people who thinks COVIVD isn’t real, but can we please stop just guessing and see how things play out?

  16. The preseason games may be played without fans, or cancelled.

    All regular season games will be played, on the scheduled dates.

    Most or all states will allow fans at those regular season games.

    By training camp the summer heat will have greatly diminished the virus.

    Heat in the south & west should totally eliminate it there by August.

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