The NFL Has No Intention of Adding Weeks to Make Up Games Canceled By COVID

By Stephen Douglas
Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick / Elsa/Getty Images
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The NFL has been the little engine that could put on a football season during a pandemic no matter how many players or staff members are exposed to the coronavirus. It's an impressive, stubborn train. We're halfway through the 2020 NFL season and they haven't missed a single game. Schedules have been shuffled. Games have been played on strange days. Players have missed games, but games have not been missed.

And that is why I find it curious that the NFL is suddenly preparing for the eventuality of canceled games and adding more playoff teams instead of making them up. Months ago they told us that there were literal weeks of wiggle room where time could be added and the Super Bowl could be pushed to any weekend in February.

It sure doesn't sound like the NFL has any intention of factually using their contingency plan. That's fine, I guess, from a big-picture standpoint. The pandemic is getting worse in America. Players and staff are getting infected. One player is out for the season because of COVID complications. If you're going to be slapdash about the season, go all-in, am I right?

The question is whether the league and the team owners ever had any intention of adding weeks. Once players get an extra week of rest, they're just going to want it going forward. We've already seen how useless preseason games are. Players aren't going to want those back.

Besides, the NFL is a finger-snap away from adding a second extra playoff spot in each conference. Expect that second team to be finalized as soon as some team without a bye week remaining loses a game. The NFL has been trying to add one playoff team per conference since at least 2014. Now they have a wide-open window to double that. It was almost too easy.

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