NFL cancels first game of 2020 preseason due to coronavirus
By The Associated Press
Last Updated: 25/06/20 6:01pm
The NFL has cancelled the Hall of Fame game that traditionally opens the preseason and is delaying the 2020 induction ceremonies for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The August 6 exhibition game in Canton, Ohio, between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, is the first on-field event the league has cancelled during the pandemic. It will be played on August 5, 2021, with the same teams.
Enshrinements for 10 men scheduled for August 8 - including NFL Films co-founder Steve Sabol, former coaches Jimmy Johnson and Bill Cowher, and players Troy Polamalu, Edgerrin James and Isaac Bruce - now will occur on August 7, 2021, with the special centennial class that was set to be inducted in mid-September now entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame the next day.
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"This is the right decision for several reasons, first and foremost the health and welfare of our Gold Jackets, incoming centennial class of 2020 members, hall personnel and event volunteers," said David Baker, the hall's CEO.
"We also must consider the most appropriate way to fulfill the first tenet of our mission: To honor the heroes of the game. This decision meets that duty."
NFL owners are conducting a virtual meeting on Thursday in which the preseason schedule will be discussed. It is possible the league will reduce the number of exhibition games to two per team from the usual four. Dallas and Pittsburgh would have played five, including the game in Canton.
The NFL was able to conduct free agency, the draft and several owners meetings remotely, and it recently began reopening team facilities that were shut in late March, albeit on a limited basis. Only players who are rehabilitating injuries are allowed in team complexes.