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The NFL Doesn’t Expect Coronavirus To Impact Its 2020 Schedule

The sports world remains on pause in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as the days pass our expectations regarding social distancing begin to stretch further into spring and, in some places, summer. That creates an interesting problems for sports organizations like the NBA, which may still attempt to squeeze in the remainder of the league’s playoffs and the rest of its offseason while not altering next season and potential inclusion of its players in the now-rescheduled Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Other leagues are still optimistic that they will not be impacted by the virus that has stopped much of traditional life for large portions of the world’s population. The NFL, for example, feels their September schedule will not be impacted. The league held a conference call with reporters on Tuesday and said that, despite death tolls rising and uncertainty about when people will be able to gather in crowds and attempt to go about life as usual, the league doesn’t feel that its schedule will have to change.

Per The Los Angeles Times:

“All of our discussions, all of our focus has been on a normal, traditional season, starting on time, playing in front of fans, in our regular stadiums,” said NFL executive vice president and general counsel Jeff Pash, in a conference call with reporters.

Asked what gives the league that confidence, Pash said: “I think what the doctors are looking at are models that address the effectiveness of different kinds of interventions, on how the curve has trended down and tailed off in other countries, and what they believe will be the result based on the modeling that’s been done in this country.

There are a lot of factors at play here and the very thought of the month of September feels light years away right now, but it’s interesting that the league hasn’t felt it necessary to consider things may not be back to normal come fall.

Pash noted that things remain fluid and could certainly be altered by further complications, but that the league is focused on playing in its current stadiums and with crowds of fans in attendance.

Hopefully the models they’re shown will include the flattening of the COVID-19 outbreak that social distancing is designed to produce, but we really won’t know how effective those measures have been for weeks and months to come. The larger issues of testing and a vaccine are not even far along enough to really consider here, but the NFL remains confident they’ll be playing football this fall.