The schedule for the current season under normal circumstances would have already been out for a while now, but as we are reminded on a daily basis, we are not currently living under normal circumstances. The NFL pushed back the reveal date of its schedule to the second week of May, so we are still a couple of weeks away before we learn when the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing later this year, although we already know whom.
The reason for the delay has reportedly been in order for the league’s schedule-makers to fashion a schedule that would be able to be modified—that is, truncated—with relative ease, should the event arise that they would not be able to begin the regular season as a result of the ongoing viral pandemic that had Roger Goodell announcing draft picks in somewhat of a drunken stupor from his basement.
In between the awkward pauses and the other awkward qualities of his pre-pick appearances, one thing Goodell did say was that the NFL still believes and operating under the assumption that it will be able to play a complete, full 16-game schedule, and to do it on-time.
This is consistent with what the commissioner and the league have been saying all along, even since the very beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak. While they cancelled certain events or elements of events in the early phases of the offseason, they kept the draft to be held as scheduled, even in an altered form, and with the intention of playing football when football has long been played.
Last week, Goodell said that the league was still working on getting its schedule released by no later than May 9. He confirmed that they still remain on-schedule to be able to release the dates of the games to be played by that date once again last night.
One other detail that he noted was that Las Vegas would host the 2022 NFL Draft. The city was set to host this draft, with a huge production involved, before the pandemic made that an impossibility, so they get their do-over. Cleveland will host the 2021 draft, as had already been previously announced.
Goodell did not confirm previous reports that the schedule would reflect the times in the sense that it would be easily adjustable in the even that things would need to be changed, but he would be reluctant to admit that. It should be obvious whether or not that’s the case once it’s revealed.
If, for example, everyone alternates home and away games in the first two to four weeks, to assure that everyone would have the same number of home and away games if two games at a time were excised, that would be an example of how the schedule had been designed in a way that would make it easily adjustable.