While the sports world remains on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL is planning on forging ahead.
The league didn't push back the start of the new league year and conducted free agency as scheduled. While it's impossible to predict what state of the pandemic will be come fall, the NFL is committed to the idea that the 2020 season will go as expected, with fans in attendance and without delay.
"All of our discussions," Jeff Pash, executive vice president and general counsel for the NFL, said Tuesday, via ESPN. "All of our focus, has been on a normal, traditional season, starting on time, playing in front of fans, in our regular stadiums, and going through a full 16-game regular season and a full set of playoffs. That's our focus.
"We're still in March, so it's 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 on focusing on a season that starts on time and played in a normal way."
Pash also noted the NFL schedule, which was slated to be released in April, will come out May 9 and it will include international games, according to Sports Illustrated.
While the NFL is planning for business as usual some five months from now, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the way the league operates. Team facilities are shuttered except for a few essential employees. Draft visits and workouts have been canceled. The NFL draft, which was slated to be Las Vegas' introduction to the football world, now will be held remotely.
Pash told reporters there are no current contingency plans for a shortened season or a delayed one, citing: “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 has been done in this country."
Be sure, the NFL has a lot of money at stake. A lot of advertisers and companies that want to know what their plan is. For now, it's to plan for normalcy and adjust should the pandemic reemerge in the fall as most epidemiologists expect.
As of Tuesday, there have been more than 160,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States and more than 3,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NBC News reporting.