NFL 2020 preseason will be cut in half

Coronavirus will cut the NFL preseason in half.

The league is expected to announce Thursday that Week 1 and Week 4 of its exhibition slate will be scrapped, according to a Pro Football Talk report, following the cancellation of the Aug. 6 Hall of Fame game between the Cowboys and Steelers. In addition to reducing COVID-19 risk and travel for teams, the elimination of two games from each team’s preseason schedule gives every roster additional time to practice and train after missing months of group workouts, without directing preparation or resources to live action.

The NFL has yet to make any adjustments to the regular season schedule, which is to begin Sept. 10, and remains hopeful that games could feature fans, even as the NBA, NHL and MLS prepare to play in isolated hub cities and MLB embarks on a season with empty stadiums.

Though the NFL has already mandated that at least the first six rows in a stadium be empty, The Athletic is reporting that teams may ask fans to sign liability waivers if they choose to attend games, agreeing not to hold the franchise or venue responsible if they contract the coronavirus. The report states that fans would be advised — though not required — to wear facemasks, while concessions could go cashless, featuring only pre-packaged food.

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