NFL counting on coronavirus outbreak to wane in time for season to start on schedule

The Kansas City Chiefs celebrate on the field at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami after winning Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2.
The Kansas City Chiefs celebrate after winning Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Feb. 2.
(Angela Weiss / AFP/Getty Images)

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL is confident it will be able to conduct business as usual in the fall, league executives said Tuesday.

“All of our discussions, all of our focus has been on a normal, traditional season, starting on time, playing in front of fans, in our regular stadiums,” said NFL executive vice president and general counsel Jeff Pash, in a conference call with reporters.

Asked what gives the league that confidence, Pash said: “I think what the doctors are looking at are models that address the effectiveness of different kinds of interventions, on how the curve has trended down and tailed off in other countries, and what they believe will be the result based on the modeling that’s been done in this country.


A look at how sports leagues, including the NFL, MLB, MLS, NBA and NHL, are responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

June 15, 2020

“Keeping in mind that we’re still in March, so there are quite a few months between now and when our season would begin, the belief and the information that we have is leading us to continue to focus on having the season start on time and be played in a normal way.”

NFL executives spoke to team presidents on Monday, and team owners on Tuesday. It was in Tuesday’s call that owners voted to expand the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams, starting this season.