Cutting the NFL preseason to two games will allow for much-needed flexibility amid the sports world’s COVID-19 era.
The decision would allow teams to have easier adjustments to the COVID-19 era and designate “ramp-up” activities more clearly to players and personnel. The NFL has plans of reducing the preseason schedule in 2021, per the expected collective bargaining agreement. But due to the current global circumstances, the decision regarding the exhibition matchups may need to arrive sooner.
An unfamiliar offseason has essentially commenced with personnel now allowed to reopen facilities under CDC safety guidelines. Training camps will follow stricter protocols as well, which sets up the reasoning behind an abbreviated preseason.
The NFL is still aiming to continue as initially planned. The Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio is still slated for Aug. 6 and the season-opening matchup between the Texans and Chiefs currently remains as originally scheduled (Thursday, Sept. 10). The two-game preseason plan should not alter these dates but will allow teams to adjust to the “new normal.”
The league has additionally expressed the desire to allow fans into stadiums under limited capacity. League officials have had the good fortune of this pandemic landing in the middle of the offseason. This has allowed for extensive contingency plans to be discussed and implemented without much scrambling.
Nonetheless, with the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in parts of the country, shortening the preseason would be a smart safety precaution with the 2020 campaign approaching.