When we recently discussed the idea of a “compressed” schedule for the NFL this year, possibly not starting until almost Halloween, all scheduling decisions were still up in the air. As of this date, the league is still holding those alternate scheduling choices in reserve as a backup plan. They plan to release the fall schedule on Thursday, currently slated to start and end on the normal dates. (While we don’t know the exact dates for each matchup yet, the teams each franchise will face is already known. You can check out who your team will be playing here.)
But as much as the season may still look the same, there will be one significant difference. As in past years, the league had been planning to play several games in London and another in Mexico City. Those plans are now canceled. All games will be played at the various teams’ home stadiums right here in the United States to avoid even more exposure to the novel coronavirus. (CBS Denver)
The Broncos will not be going to London during the 2020 season. The NFL announced Monday that all 2020 games will be played in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It had been widely reported that the Broncos would play the Atlanta Falcons in London during the season, which would have been Denver’s first international game since the 2010 season.
The NFL is expected to release its full schedule later this week. Despite the ongoing pandemic, the league is planning to begin the season on time.
All I can say about this is… it’s about time. And I’m not just saying this because it makes sense not to fly the teams to another continent if the pandemic is still raging. (Though that absolutely does make sense, depending on where we stand in late August.) This entire idea was a fiasco from the beginning and if we have to adapt to a “new normal” after the pandemic passes, I hope this change becomes part of it.
It’s not hard to weigh the pros and cons of overseas games. On the con side, the games wind up being broadcast when most of the United States has barely finished breakfast or isn’t even out of bed yet. You realize that’s a really awkward time to start cracking open beers, right? (Martinis or bloody marys, sure. But that’s way too early for beer.)
Also, traveling from the east coast to the west coast is hard enough on the players in terms of jet lag and throwing off their internal clocks. Sending them to Europe is just insane. When only a handful of teams have to take on that additional stress and inherent disadvantage the following week, it’s simply unfair. And beyond that, why do the Brits (or the Mexicans for that matter) need to see live football games? This is an American sport. Most of the “fans” over there think you’re talking about soccer when somebody mentions football. The games should be held for the benefit of the fans of the respective teams when it comes to live attendance.
So what are the pros of doing this? That one is obvious. More advertising revenue for the NFL Network and yet another market to tap into. Even the people in the league’s home office aren’t insane enough to think that we would ever expand the NFL to include franchises in Europe. (Or at least I hope they aren’t.) If you do that, you’ll soon have a bunch of teams making intercontinental flights every other week. And that – again – is simply insane.
The NFL makes plenty of money. They don’t need to squeeze a few extra quid out of the Brits to make ends meet. And the stress on the players is far too high of a price to pay for an extra advertising market. Let’s keep this decision in place and keep the games at home in America where they belong.