The annual April sports holiday of the NFL schedule release will be a month later this year because of the unpredictability of the coronavirus outbreak. The league said Tuesday it plans to do so May 9.
“We had been looking, actually, at releasing the schedule later,” said Brian Rolapp, the league’s Chief Media and Business Officer. “This is not a new concept. This is something we’ve talked about for some time for different reasons, creating flexibility, trying to see what would be best for the clubs.
“But also given this time, added flexibility is also a plus. So, that’s what we’ll be shooting for.”
All matchups for 2020 were determined by the league’s scheduling model, so the schedule release simply sets dates, times and bye weeks.
The Bears will play their annual home-and-home meetings with the Vikings, Packers and Lions; they’ll host the Saints, Giants, Buccaneers, Texans and Colts; and they’ll visit the Rams, Falcons, Jaguars, Titans and Panthers.
Generally, the NFL is proceeding as though the upcoming season will take place on schedule, and it has conducted free agency on the original timetable. The draft also remains on schedule for April 23-25.
The first potential interruption to the calendar would come in May if teams are unable to hold Organized Team Activities and minicamps. Training camp usually begins in late July, and the season is slated to open Sept. 10.