Saturday could be for the NFL this fall, if college football doesn’t play, The Post has learned.
With the NFL expected to release its schedule soon, officials have discussed giving the league some flexibility to move the game to Saturday this fall if campus soccer postpones the entire season, according to sources.
The NFL had an initial discussion with its broadcast partners about the idea. An NFL spokeswoman declined to comment.
While most of the week’s schedule will remain on Sunday, along with primetime Monday and Thursday schedules, some stand-alone games can be reset for Saturday.
The NFL will only consider moving if there is no college football. It remains unclear whether college football will be played this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
College games have more uncontrollable variables than the NFL, which starts with the fact that the players aren’t real professionals. If students aren’t on campus in the fall, it’s hard to see how soccer players can be asked to compete. The presence of the crowd is also more important for most college programs than the NFL.
Even though the NFL is in a much better position to handle the pandemic as a professional league, the NFL is still trying to figure out how it will put it in its game. That was the first concern for NFL executives.
But Saturday’s plan makes sense because it will leave the TV window open for the NFL. The NFL has scheduled matches on Saturday after the regular college season ends in December.
The NFL can be more extreme if Saturday is released for the entire season. It can have three headers with games on 1 thing, 4:30 and 8, or only have one game Saturday in a week.
All ideas are still in the early stages because there are so many unexpected factors that must be determined by the NFL.
If college suspends playing in the fall, there may be an open path for the NFL to find out Saturday. For example, if the NFL plays a season without fans in a stadium, then the idea of participants being uncomfortable with changing games from Sunday to Saturday will be an insignificant factor.
The rest between matches for players will only be shifted one day, though, the league must ensure there are no problems with the short weeks Thursday and Monday.
By record number for the NFL draft broadcast, there will be hunger for football when played again. If Saturday is open, the NFL can fill in the gaps and is likely to refill its partners, such as NBC, CBS, Fox and ESPN, more to broadcast these games. The network will open slots available with colleges not playing.
This is an interesting idea that will not be finalized when the schedule is announced on May 9, but the NFL will likely give itself flexibility.