The NFL won’t be going abroad in 2020 as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. The league will be staying home for at least one season.
On Monday, during the week of the expected schedule release, the NFL officially cancelled the five international games — four in London (two at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and two at Wembley Stadium) and one in Mexico City (Azteca Stadium) — that were on the docket for the 2020 NFL season. Every NFL game played during the 2020 season will be played in the United States. According to the league’s release, this decision, made by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, came after consultation with teams, national and local governments, the NFLPA, medical authorities, and international stadium partners.
“After considerable analysis, we believe the decision to play all our games domestically this season is the right one for our players, our clubs, and all our fans in the US, Mexico and UK,” said NFL Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Christopher Halpin in a statement. “We greatly appreciate the support of our governmental and stadium partners in Mexico and the United Kingdom, who all agree with this decision, and we look forward to returning for games in both countries in the 2021 season.
“We also thank our incredible fans in those territories for their passionate support of the NFL. We will continue to serve them through our outstanding media partners and by being active supporters of both grassroots football and COVID-19 relief efforts in Mexico and the UK.”
“While the NFL’s many fans in London, the UK and Europe will obviously be disappointed by this news, it is absolutely the right decision to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the sport,” said Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London. “I know that the NFL remains fully committed to London and I look forward to welcoming NFL teams back to the capital in 2021.”
As for the actual schedule for the upcoming season, it’s still expected to come out sometime this week, no later than Saturday. The NFL has already said that it expects the season to proceed as planned despite the uncertainty during a global pandemic that as of Monday, has been confirmed to have killed more than 67 thousand Americans, according to The Washington Post — more than a million cases, at least, have been reported. Among them are a few notable NFL players and coaches, like and both of whom have since made .
“Our planning, our expectation, is fully directed at playing a full season starting on schedule and having a full regular season and a full set of playoffs,” said NFL executive Jeff Pash in late March, per NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero. “Am I certain? I’m not certain that I’ll be here tomorrow. But I’m planning on it.”
It’s worth noting that at the time, Pash was also, which has obviously changed over the past month. As the country and planet continues to battle COVID-19, the situation remains fluid.