The coronavirus has caused the NFL to change quite a bit this offseason. We usually see the schedule released a couple of weeks before the NFL Draft. Now, the NFL schedule will be released on May 9. We also just went through a virtual NFL Draft, and with the global pandemic still going on, there are no dates for any OTAs this summer. Nothing is the same.
According to Andrew Marchand at the New York Post, the league may consider adding more Saturday games if there is no college football season played. Marchand points out in his article that there are more constraints on college football than professional football that may set up such a scenario:
The college game has more uncontrollable variables than the NFL starting with the fact that the players aren’t true professionals. If students aren’t on campus in the fall, it is hard to see how football players could be asked to compete. Crowd attendance is also more important for the majority of college programs’ bottom lines than it is to the NFL.
The league has held games for many years on Saturdays after most of the college football regular season is done in December, and playoff games on Saturdays have routinely done quite well in terms of television ratings. Week 16 saw three quality games between Houston and Tampa Bay, Buffalo and New England, and the thriller between the Rams and the 49ers. Fans are going to tune in. NFL football posted overall gains in 2019 over its already strong television numbers in 2018, so the gradual spread of games over more parts of the broadcast schedule (like Thursday nights and Sunday nights) looks like the right strategy.
How would you feel about triple-headers on Saturday? That may leave us glued to our couch all weekend. Saturday, for me, anyway, is a day to get away from football and enjoy time with friends and family. None of this will matter if the NCAA starts its season on time. If they don’t, this is another opportunity for the NFL to steal the spotlight.