The NFL planned to reduce its preseason from four games to two starting in 2021. That option was baked into the new collective bargaining agreement that the league signed with the NFL Players Association in March. Since then, however, the coronavirus pandemic has taken over and eliminated most aspects of professional sports, and the NFL’s first major game cancellations have reportedly arrived.
According to a report from Pro Football Talk, the league is cutting the preseason down to two games for 2020. The league had already canceled the Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, which was set for Thursday, August 6th, but now the league will eliminate the games from the first and last weeks of the preseason. This news of course affects all 32 teams, in part to allow for a longer build-up to the start of games after the onset of training camp.
Although the league has not made any changes to the remaining preseason games yet, those dates may still be subject to change as well. Moving them back into the date ranges for weeks three and four would allow for camp to start two weeks later and still have the normal amount of preparatory time before preseason games would begin, or to shift camp back one week and maintain an extra week of prep time. With COVID-19 on a dramatic upswing across the United States, this move buys the league a bit more time to see how the current spike pans out before committing to begin training camps.
For the Green Bay Packers, this means that their home game against the Arizona Cardinals and road date at the Kansas City Chiefs will not take place. The two games remaining on the schedule would leave the Packers hosting the Cleveland Browns and traveling to play the New York Giants. Both of those games are currently set for Saturdays, on August 22nd and 29th respectively.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more information about whether those games will take place as scheduled or if more changes will be taking place.