The 2020 NFL season promises to be one of the strangest that we have ever seen. This is the 101st season for the planet´s biggest football league, but several changes have been brought in this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. So what do you need to know to understand the season?
The league started on September 10, when the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Houston Texans by 34 to 20, with no preseason games taking place before that. The regular season ends on January 3, 2021, when 16 games are scheduled to take place. Super Bowl LV is planned to take place on February 7, in the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
One of the biggest changes this season is that the early games have been played behind closed doors. There is contingency in place to allow in a small number of spectators later in the season, with 13 of the teams confirming that they plan to do this. Among the teams that will play the full season with no fans are the Las Vegas Raiders.
If and when fans are allowed in, they will need to wear face masks and also sign a liability waiver. In addition, there will be no on-field entertainment taking place and up to 8 rows of seats next to the field will be closed off. Crowd noise can currently be used to add some atmosphere, up to 80 decibels and a constant volume, when the crowd is lower than 2,500.
Who Will Win the Super Bowl?
The big question at the start of each NFL season is who will win the big event that closes out the whole thing. The last Super Bowl was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs, who beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in February of this year.
The fact that games are played behind closed doors could have a big effect on who wins the coveted title this year. There is a debate about how big a difference the lack of crowds is making to the results, with not everyone convinced that it plays a part.
Another issue to bear in mind is that 66 players chose to opt out of the season. The most affected team is the New England Patriots, who have lost 8 of their roster in this way. The Los Angeles Chargers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Atlanta Falcons haven´t suffered from any players opting out.
So, experts are predicting some unexpected results due to these factors. If we click here to look at the current American football betting odds, we can see that the likes of over/under bets and NFL futures are among the options for trying to make money by correctly predicting the outcome of these games.
Will the Season Be Played to Completion?
The big question on everyone´s lips now is whether the 2020 NFL season can possibly be played to a conclusion, as the number of players infected with the virus continues to grow.
A game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans has already been called off, together with another between the Patriots and the Chiefs. If the number of infected players carries on growing, it could be impossible to play all of the scheduled games.
One idea that has been suggested is that of an NFL bubble, much like the one that is being used by NBA teams and in other sports. However, it has been largely dismissed as unrealistic and unworkable for football.
For the moment, increased security measures and new protocols are being put in place. These include limiting the time spent in shared facilities and using more buses to transport the players. It is hoped that this change helps to guarantee that the season is played out to the end without any major issues.