By Tank Murdoch @TheNatSent

(TNS) In the ‘for what it’s worth’ department, amid wall-to-wall coronavirus coverage, there could be a bright spot emerging, at least for NFL fans.

One of the league’s top officials said during a conference call Tuesday that the NFL was planning on a “full schedule” with “full stadiums,” and even planned to keep its international game schedule.

“The new coronavirus pandemic has shut down the NBA and NHL, delayed Opening Day for Major League Baseball and forced the NFL to plan on virtual workouts for their offseason program and a drastically reconfigured draft that will have teams, players and Commissioner Roger Goodell connected virtually,” reported.

That said, Jeff Pash, executive vice president and general counsel said the league’s medical executives, who are consulting with the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network, have been shown models of the course of the pandemic in other countries and how different interventions have been effective.

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The NFL has the luxury of time to alter the season if projections change. But the message from the NFL was clear Tuesday: The information the league has right now has led it to focus on planning to start the season as scheduled. The schedule of games will likely be released on or around May 9.

In an hour-long conference call with team owners earlier on Tuesday, there was no discussion about shortening the season or changing the structure of the season, Pash said, although Troy Vincent, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, told reporters the league is also “looking at all options” and “constantly contingency planning.”

“All of our discussion, 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 full set of playoffs,” Pash said. “That’s our focus.”

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Earlier, Pash said: “That’s our expectation. Am I certain of that? I’m not certain I’ll be here tomorrow. But I’m planning on it, and in the same way, we’re planning on having a full season.”

That said, there have been changes. Off-season activities have been suspended, while in-person free agent and draft prospect meetings are taking place virtually. Also, the NFL is considering ways to hold training sessions and classroom time virtually as well.

A ray of hope? If you’re a football fan, yes. But nothing’s written in stone yet.


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