The NFL will reportedly announce later this week that it has cut the 2020 preseason in half. The league will eliminate Week 1 and Week 4 of the preseason due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
More than the uptick of virus cases around the United States, this has to do with the NFL making sure its teams are prepared for the start of the regular season on Sept. 10. Remember, all in-person off-season activities were canceled due to coronavirus.
This week’s news specifically hits the Las Vegas Raiders hard. It means that they will play only one preseason game at the new Allegiant Stadium off the strip. That will come Aug. 27 against the Arizona Cardinals. The Raiders’ second preseason home game, originally slated for Sept. 3, has been canceled.
There’s certainly a lot of moving parts to this. At this point, we have absolutely no idea whether the 2020 NFL season will get going on time. Troubling trends as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic around the United States has raised more questions than answers.
That’s true in Nevada, too.
The Silver State has seen a major increase of coronavirus cases since Governor Steve Sisolak went into Phase 2 of reopening last month. That includes 645 new cases over the past 24 hours (as of publication of this article).
It was just last week that Sisolak extended Phase 2 of reopening through July. He’s also ordered people to wear masks in public places and threatened to put in more restrictions should cases continue to spike.
This could obviously have an impact on the Raiders as they look to open the $1.84 billion Allegiant Stadium next month.
As it relates to fans potentially being able to attend games, it’s not looking great right now. The NFL is considering requiring fans to sign liability waivers to attend games, much like what we saw during President Trump’s rally in Oklahoma last month.
If fans are somehow allowed to attend, the expectation is that it will be nowhere near capacity. The need for social distancing remains, likely leading to 25% capacity if this were to come to fruition.
As it relates to the Raiders’ new preseason schedule, they will open up against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium before closing out the exhibition slate against the above-mentioned Cardinals.
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