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Coming Soon: An Unrecognizable NFL Season?

By now, we should be used to the upending of schedules. I mean, schools aren’t meeting, Sunday mornings look different, and even work schedules aren’t quite what they used to be. So I suppose we should expect the same thing to happen in the sports world.

We’ve already seen upheaval in sports. There was no March Madness this year. The NCAA cut college baseball and softball seasons heartbreakingly short. College football fans everywhere are impatiently awaiting updates. The NFL Draft was weird and awkward. Even Major League Baseball is considering a bizarre, radical plan for a season built around spring training locations.

Now the NFL is considering a schedule change that would render the season downright unrecognizable. Think about these changes: a season kickoff in October, no bye weeks, no Pro Bowl, and a Super Bowl at the end of February. It’s crazy, but the idea is that the league would be able to play a full season.

Sports Business Daily breaks down what the season could look like:

In one version, the start of the season could be delayed by up to five weeks with relatively few adjustments. Such a scenario would have Super Bowl LV, currently set for Feb. 7, 2021 in Tampa, pushed back by three weeks. If that happens, it could compete with other big events that typically try to avoid Super Bowl Sunday.

Two weeks of early-season games could be shifted wholesale to the end of the season. A third week would feature teams only playing opponents with the same bye week, so that week could be cut and byes eliminated leaguewide.

These contingency-laden plans also include cutting the weekend between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, where the Pro Bowl is typically played, to allow another week to be lost to delays. Under such a plan, the Pro Bowl would not be played.

There’s no word yet on how the league will address the preseason or the five international games that are on the current schedule.

The NFL is prepared to be as light on its feet as a behemoth sports league can be. Officials say that they’re prepared to make more changes to meet new contingencies and face new challenges that arise.

Commissioner Roger Goodell told Good Morning America as much:

“One thing I’ve learned about what we are going through as a country is you can’t tell a week from now much less three months from now,” Goodell said. “So, our job is to be ready. We will obviously be ready to make alternatives.”

It’s encouraging to hear the good news that we might get a full football season this fall. We need live sports to help us return to normal. There’s only so many sports reruns we can watch – although it’s fun to relive the 1995 World Series in Fox Sports, and I’ve loved listening to some classic recent Georgia Bulldogs football and baseball broadcasts in podcast form.

Thank God there’s some football to look forward to in the fall. Now if only we can get some good news about college football.

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