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The NFL is still planning to release the schedule May 9th while contemplating contingency plans

So much of the future is unknown for sports leagues.

NFL: Super Bowl LIV City Views Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is still planning to release the 2020 schedule on May 9th, and that schedule will be for a full slate of games. Obviously, within the current environment no plans are set in stone, and the idea of a full 16-game schedule is more of an optimistic goal than anything at this point, but the NFL is moving ahead under that plan.

The NFL still plans to release its 2020 schedule by May 9, based on a full season, league sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

Adjustments to the schedule will be made as, and if, necessary, the sources said.

Contingencies remain in discussion by the league, the sources said.

In a FaceTime call last week with the founder and CEO of Kairos, Ankur Jain, commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL is planning to play this season.

”The NFL is planning to play,” Goodell said in the call. “That’s our hope, and that’s our planning to date.”

But the NFL is also not burying their collective head in the sand. They realize that changes may need to be made. While the NFL season won’t begin until September, there are still things like preseason and training camp that have to be figured out. According to The Washington Post, the league is preparing a contingency plan in the event that they have to march forward with a shortened season.

While still publicly committed to kicking off its 2020 season in September to packed stadiums, the NFL has been planning for contingencies that include a potentially shortened schedule and holding games in empty or partially filled stadiums, two people familiar with the league’s planning said Wednesday.


“I don’t know if it’ll be a one-third-filled stadium, a half-filled stadium or whatever,” said one of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details of the league’s planning had not been made public. “The NFL is planning for everything from playing without fans to playing in full stadiums.”

It’s hard to know what a shortened NFL season would look like, but in thinking about it, a 12-game schedule could theoretically be the “easiest” potential move. If that’s the road that the NFL takes then perhaps it makes the most sense to remove the interconference games considering they hold the lowest significance when it comes to tiebreakers and things like that, but that’s just one idea. For what it’s worth, the Cowboys are set to play the AFC North in 2020 (visiting Baltimore and Cincinnati).

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