May 8, 2020 / 4:05 PM / 19 days ago

NFL has flexibility to delay '20 schedule

FILE PHOTO: The NFL logo is pictured at an event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Plans are subject to change during a pandemic, and the NFL is armed with the ability pause or delay the start of the 2020 season.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the NFL could delay the season by several weeks and still play a full slate. The schedule is also flexible enough to start at any point and play through the resumption of the season if needed.

For example, if guidelines restrict games into October, the NFL could opt to either move Week 1 of the season back to the new, approved start date. Or it could scrap the lost weeks on the schedule and begin at Week 5, playing through Week 17.

Competitive imbalance is possible because of bye weeks depending on the scenario set in motion as the league attempts to grapple with the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.

The Super Bowl is scheduled for Feb. 7 in Tampa, Fla., but Raymond James Stadium could host the game “weeks later” according to Schefter.

Shifting the schedule back could also cause a delay in the start of the 2021 league year and draft-related events such as the Senior Bowl and scouting combine. The timing of the pre-draft circuit already is expected to be impacted by the construction of the college football schedule.

—Field Level Media

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