What 2020 NFL season could look like for teams, players, fans


Roger Goodell was clear through the scouting and draft process that all things must be equal for all teams; if one team can’t open its facility, then no team can use its facility. Fair enough, and it was actually an unintended and lovely consequence that draft rooms this year were dining rooms and kitchens and home offices, with kids [and one dog] hanging out with GM and coach dads. “It was great to see all 32 teams be as efficient or almost as efficient in the draft while having a lot better quality of life,” said Seattle tight end Greg Olsen—and Americans everywhere seemed to agree.

Talking to smart people in and close to the league in the past few days, I got the impression the idea of an imperfect season is on the minds of many.

“At some point,” one top club executive said, “we’re going to have start accepting inequalities. What happens when teams in four states are told, ‘You can’t have training camp?’ Do those teams not have camp? Do they travel to a state that allows a gathering of 100 or so people to work? Time will tell, but the way it looks now, there’s no way all states are going to be under equal rules by the summer.”

“I’m very confident of a 16-game season with a Super Bowl in February,” said sports-business consultant Marc Ganis of SportsCorp Ltd. Ganis is a confidant of several owners and top league officials. “I didn’t say I was confident in 16 games with a bye, or what week in February the Super Bowl would be, or if every team will play eight games in their home stadiums, or whether there will be fans at every game. There’s more information that’s needed before we have these answers. Teams are just going to have be flexible.”

I put a lot of stock in Ganis’ words, because I know who he knows and I know how much NFL people value his advice. Asterisk to his points: I am not as confident of a 16-game season, nor are a couple of the smart people I spoke with for this column. I won’t be surprised if this is a 12 or 14-game season. But with the scheduled start of the regular season 18 weeks away, that’s a lot of time for many different alternatives to develop, and pressure points to come from all over—including the White House, which clearly wants sports to resume. So we can’t know now what shape the league will take this year, but we can have some ideas to consider.

The Schedule

The caveats of the season make this week’s release of the 256-game slate problematic. I’ve thought all along the new stadium in Los Angeles, SoFi Stadium, would host its first game in Week 1, quite possibly the marquee Cowboys-Rams game, and quite possibly in the NFL’s big Sunday night NBC window. But now with the end of stadium construction slowed due to the coronavirus and the real possibility that no fans would attend the game in a state, California, that has been uber-sensitive to crowds of any sort, would the NFL want to scrub that matchup and instead put the Sunday night opener in a place that is “opening up” more aggressively now?

As I’ve said in this space, it’s likely the NFL is making multiple schedules, in the case of a reduction to 14 or 12 or 10 games per team. Even a 16-game schedule could have major changes. It’s possible the schedule gets pushed back a week or four, and maybe the byes eliminated, but we can’t know that now. It’s also possible the league could choose to start four weeks late and simply kick off the schedule with the Week 5 games, beginning Oct. 8 . . . and take Weeks 1 through 4 and put them on the last four weekends in January. That would keep the bye week intact, which is likely important because the players union would fight to keep the in-season week off in place. In that scenario, playoffs would begin Feb. 6 with the Super Bowl on Feb. 28.

When the schedule comes out later this week, the one thing current events have done, most likely, is to make Tampa Bay a national team with new quarterback Tom Brady. I’d be surprised if the Bucs didn’t get scheduled for a prime-time game in Week 1, perhaps in one of the two ESPN windows on Monday.

The Players

I was on a call with reporters in April with the National Football League Players Association’s medical director, Thom Mayer, who was surveying the cloudy landscape. “We’ll go anywhere the science takes us and nowhere the science doesn’t,” Mayer said. “We’re going to look at everything as long as it keeps all 2,500 players safe.” I doubt you’d see any players say they were refusing to play. But if a team, for example, gets four or five positive tests of players, coaches or staff close together, would the league shut down that team and cancel its next game or two?

The Testing

Potentially sensitive. What if each of the 32 teams is testing its players and essential staff twice a week. (Obviously, they’ll have to be tested regularly, to ensure that no COVID-positive person spreads the disease in the close quarters of a football team.) Say that’s 150 people (players, coaches, staff). So 300 tests per week (17) per team (32)—that adds up to 163,000 tests for the regular season. Let’s round up for the full season: 200,000 tests for a sports league to play its full schedule. By August, will there be enough tests so that the NFL doesn’t seem piggish to be using 200,000 that could go to the general public? (Even half that number, 100,000 tests, is a major number if many in the country are going without.)

And teams will have to be willing, in the case of a positive test, to commit to placing that person in quarantine for two weeks. So the Kansas City Chiefs had better be comfortable with Chad Henne playing for two weeks or more if Patrick Mahomes tests positive. The Patriots had better be comfortable with Josh McDaniels coaching the team for two weeks if Bill Belichick tests positive.

The Fans

I could see the NFL, if and when fans are allowed to come to games, advising anyone over 70 to not come. I could see alcohol being banned at games for the year. (Meaning, theoretically, fewer trips to crowded restrooms through crowded concourses by patrons.) With three teams in California, and Gov. Gavin Newsom having a hair-trigger about anything that draws a crowd, the NFL may have to determine if it’s willing to play games with fans in Tampa Bay, and games with no fans in California, for most of all of the season.

TV and The Media

I won’t be surprised if the major networks have their broadcast teams call games from studios. It wouldn’t be hard, for instance, for FOX to set up producers and directors for games on their massive lots in Los Angeles, and perhaps for CBS to do the same in studios in or near their studios in New York City. I’m sure it’d be weird for Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to sit eight feet apart in a soundproof booth in Hollywood to do a big 49ers-Seahawks doubleheader game, but it was weird for Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht to run a three-day draft from his kids’ spacious toyroom, and he managed pretty well.

As for writers and other media covering games, this might be a season of no trips to team facilities and no press box viewing—but a lot of watching games on TV and Zoom press conferences with coaches and players after the game.

Different Rules

The executive offices for Santa Clara (Calif.) County, Jeffrey Smith, said last month he doesn’t see any sports events in the county—home of the 49ers—until at least Thanksgiving. Could the 49ers at some point have to play games somewhere else? Could the 49ers play an imbalanced schedule, with more games on the road than at home? Think about how the sports landscape has changed in the last six weeks before you say, Absolutely not!

You have to consider that by August—when preparation for a full season would have to begin—that all rules for human contact and the gathering of even small crowds could still be different in some of the 50 states.

So there’s lots to think about. When you see the schedule come out this week, it’s okay to be excited and have anticipation. But don’t get married to it.

“I think you have to look at 2020 as an experimental year that is off-kilter,” one club executive of a major market team told me. “It’s a litmus test is how we adapt.”

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

13. Dak Prescott (DAL)

12. Kirk Cousins (MIN)

11. Daniel Jones (NYG)

10. Matthew Stafford (LAR)

9. Deshaun Watson (CLE)

8. Aaron Rodgers (NYJ)

7. Jalen Hurts (PHI)

6. Trevor Lawrence (JAX)

5. Lamar Jackson (BAL)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, NFL.com and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!