BOSTON (CBS) — If you’re a fan of preseason football (and who isn’t?!?), you’re not going to like a report from Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately for you, you’re only going to have two of your Thursday evenings filled with some scrub football this August.
According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the 2020 NFL preseason is being cut in half. Weeks 1 and 4 are being scrapped, according to Florio.
For the New England Patriots, that means they’ll host Carolina on Aug. 20 and visit Philadelphia on Aug. 27 — and that’s their preseason. It also means that Cam Newton’s first game in a Patriots uniform, albeit a preseason game, could be against his former franchise.
Indeed, the @NFL has shortened its preseason to two games. Primary driver was the understanding that players will need longer to get into football shape. There will be a ~ 3-week acclimatization period between the start of camp July 28 and the first pod of preseason games.
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) July 1, 2020
Trimming the exhibition schedule makes sense, given the country is in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and there are some massive questions if we’ll be able to enjoy a full slate of meaningful football games, much less preseason games. And with teams expressing disinterest in the preseason in recent years, the four-game exhibition slate has been called into question.
This is a good opportunity to try something new, and could lead to some potential preseason changes in future seasons as well.
But in an offseason that has been bereft of minicamps and OTAs, the preseason was probably going to be a little more valuable this time around. With the preseason chopped in half, teams will have just two games to settle their roster battles and shore up game plans for the regular season. That’s not good news for head coaches, and even worse news for players who find themselves fighting for a roster spot.