NFL As You Know it Won't Be The Same in 2020, Commissioner Goodell Says

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to fans of the league Monday explaining how different things will be in 2020 with the coronavirus pandemic still lurking. As teams begin reporting for camp this week, Goodell decided to address the COVID-19 situation.

Goodell wrote about the challenges that coronavirus has brought to not only football in America, but to the way of life here.

"Every step of the way, our focus has been on the safety of players, coaches, personnel, fans and our communities," Goodell wrote. "Our planning has followed the lead of medical experts and public health officials, including the CDC, the White House Task Force, governors and state health officials. As we have developed our 2020 playbook for the return of football, safety continues to be our first priority; that commitment will remain paramount as players return to the field."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a fireside chat at the Preview Las Vegas business forecasting event at Wynn Las Vegas on January 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Oakland Raiders will relocate to Las Vegas at the new Allegiant Stadium starting in the 2020 NFL season. Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

The NFL announced some changes to its regular schedule, which includes nixing the entire preseason and testing players for COVID-19 on a continual basis. The league still plans to tiptoe the sideline, meaning it could continue with an all-in, full schedule for 2020. Unless it has to call an audible and cancel—or postpone.

"The NFL in 2020 will not look like other years. Players and coaches will be tested for the virus regularly, including every day for a while," Goodell said. "Preseason games have been canceled. Everyone in the team environment must follow rigorous health and safety protocols to keep themselves and each other safe. When there is a positive test, strict regulations will be enforced to isolate and care for that individual and to contain the virus before it spreads.

"Even the sideline will look different. And, state and local health guidelines will help determine whether fans will attend the games. These adjustments are necessary to reduce the risk for everyone involved."

The sports lockdown began on March 11 when the NBA said it would indefinitely suspend its season, and subsequent playoffs, after a player from the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. Since then, 13 other players tested positive for the virus.

On March 12, the MLB and NHL postponed games until further notice. After that, all the dominoes fell. The NCAA completely canceled its men's and women's basketball tournaments and all other winter and spring sports.

Major golf and tennis tournaments got put on hold, the Triple Crown horse races were postponed and auto racing went to pit row. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have been postponed until 2021.

College football's spring practices were canceled, the NFL canceled their winter owners meeting and the league held its annual draft last weekend virtually through computers and telephone.

While many college football conferences are still trying to decide how to wade the waters of the upcoming season, the NFL still intends to restart its regular season as scheduled.

NFL As You Know it Won't Be The Same in 2020, Commissioner Goodell Says | Sports