Report: NFL to cut preseason schedule in half because of COVID-19

·2 min read

The NFL has taken its next scheduling step in response to the coronavirus.

After the cancellation of the Hall of Fame game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL plans to cut its four-week preseason in half, Pro Football Talk reports. Games scheduled for Week 1 and Week 4 will be canceled, according to the report.

The NFL is expected to officially announce the decision on Thursday, according to the report.

Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports that the NFLPA hasn’t yet signed off on the idea with some in union leadership questioning whether the league should play any preseason games.

Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus appeared to confirm the NFLN report in a tweet later Wednesday. McManus is the Broncos’ union representative.

A preseason matchup between the Ravens and Bills is reportedly on the cutting board. (AP Photo/John Munson)
A preseason matchup between the Ravens and Bills is reportedly on the cutting board. (AP Photo/John Munson)

Will NFL regular season go on?

A nationwide spike in coronavirus cases has prompted concerns that plans to restart sports are in peril. So far, the NFL has given no indication that it plans to alter its regular-season schedule. The league’s stance since the pandemic took hold in the United States has been that the games will go on.

Aside from plans to close off lower-level seating in closer proximity to players to make way for digital advertising, the league has not publicly wavered on its plan to allow fans in the stands.

Meanwhile, several states that moved to reopen during the pandemic have since pulled back those efforts as coronavirus cases have spiked across the South and West. Those states include Florida, Texas, California and Arizona, which are home to nine of the NFL’s 32 teams.

MLB and the NBA are both scheduled to return prior to the scheduled start of the NFL season Sept. 10 and will provide somewhat of a blueprint on how and if the NFL can actually return safely. Even then, the nature of football and the close contact required by the sport present unique challenges in the face of COVID-19.

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