By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — If you can follow all of the schedule changes the NFL announced on Sunday, then congratulations: You’re technically a genius.
With a positive test popping up in New England, the NFL had to scramble to slide the Patriots-Broncos game from its rescheduled date on Monday to a newly rescheduled date on Sunday. The domino effect was … a bit confusing:
NFL schedule changes: pic.twitter.com/MzqhYgJ8n4
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 11, 2020
Some people might argue that rescheduling seven games in order to stuff this one particular game into next weekend’s schedule might have not been the simplest course of action. Those people would … seemingly be correct.
But longtime NFL reporter and NFL Network contributor Mike Silver revealed that the league begrudgingly accepts that adding a “Week 18” and maybe even a “Week 19” to the season is likely an inevitable reality.
“Once a team that’s already had its bye can’t play in a given week, Week 18 will likely become a reality,” Silver said on Twitter, citing “a source familiar with the NFL’s scheduling scenarios.”
Silver said that a “Week 18” game would likely only be played if it has major playoff implications, and that merely having playoff seeding implications might not be enough to warrant the additional week of action.
“That said, Week 18 is likely a reality,” Silver tweeted. “And, depending upon future postponements — and with the possibility that a team could be impacted more than once (after having lost its bye week) — there could even be a Week 19 added.
Given that the Super Bowl this season has more flexibility on dates due to the fact that thousands upon thousands of people won’t be descending upon Tampa in the midst of a pandemic, the league’s championship game could of course get delayed as a result of the requirement for additional time in the regular season.
7) As for Super Bowl LV? Well, it'll be much easier to change the date of the game than in other years, when hotels are booked far in advance and legions of fans from outside the area are in play. The Super Bowl could be delayed one, two or three weeks…
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) October 12, 2020
Silver concluded: “Bottom line: Expect at least one week to be added to the regular season, and that alone may not solve the problem. The goal remains for each team to play 16 regular season games — 8 home, 8 away — but that, too, could fall by the wayside as things evolve.”
As with everything involving the coronavirus pandemic, any and all options remain in play. Given the disruptions that have wreaked havoc on the league over the past couple of weeks, though, it does seem as though this will be one adjustment the NFL will have no choice but to make.