With the uncertainty of the NFL season as a whole, there is a solution. Of course, the NFL is pretending the season is going to move full speed ahead with training camps and a 16 game regular season. There is a zero percent chance this will occur due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A six-game regular season may be the right move at this point.
The NFL Should Consider a Six-Game Regular Season
Surely, all of us want to have a full season without any hiccups. This is a given. Be that as it may, a six-game division only season seems to be the best idea for 2020. There are plenty of advantages for the NFL to implement a shortened six-game regular season. First, most of the conferences are setup within shorter traveling times.
Lower the Travel Risks
For example, the New Orleans Saints can stay in the southeast region, instead of wandering off into other areas outside the region. The Saints projected schedule keeps them in New Orleans with road games in Charlotte, Atlanta, and Tampa. This lowers the risk of going farther out—lowering the exposure of unnecessary risk. Not to mention, every team plays their division opponent twice.
Second, this opens up two different options to play a season. If the league is adamant about starting in September, the season could be played over 12 weeks. In other words, instead of having 16 games each week—have an NFC weekend followed by the AFC. This scenario would be enticing to see a lot of rival games each week. Also, it gives flexibility if the virus hits, players could virtually be guaranteed to play every game even with a 14-day quarantine.
New Playoff Format
On the other hand, the NFL could play a six-week six-game regular season starting in October or November. This gives ample time to prepare players for the regular season. Not to mention, it gives a sense of stability to guarantee a season. Having a 16-game season is looking for all kinds of issues.
There is always a chance a star player or multiple players is out for two games making the rankings difficult for a true representation of who the best team is.
If the league decides on a six-game regular season, the playoffs could be changed to eight playoff teams—four from each conference—all division winners make the playoffs.
So taking a sample hypothetical finish for each conference. These are not predictions.
The one seed would play the fourth seed and the second plays the third. So that first-round schedule: Saints vs. Cowboys / Seahawks vs. Packers.
This playoff system makes sense. It also simplifies the 2020 season and gives the best chance for a great season.
Flexibility to Make Changes
Another idea for the playoffs—having the NFC play in one venue and the AFC in another to lower the chance of traveling from A to B each week. Creativity has to be considered for this season to go off as planned. The NFL is fighting the virus. Moreover, the social injustice issue looks to be another challenge for the league to properly prepare for.
Spreading out the season gives the league more time to properly be able to get a plan together. In short, maintaining a good balance of following safety protocols as well as having important conversations throughout the year looms to be critical for success in the 2020 season.