The NFL generally releases its schedule at some point in late April or early May, but it appears the schedule will come out later than ever this year.
According to Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal, the league won’t release the schedule for the 2021 season until mid-May. Last season’s schedule was announced May 7. This one could be a week later — or perhaps more.
Fischer noted that would make it the latest NFL schedule release in history, citing multiple reasons for the delay.
For starters, NFL teams are expected to move from a 16- to 17-game regular season. Adding that extra week may not seem like much, but that means an extra week of managing logistics for 32 teams (or 31 teams and the New York Jets.)
And with sharp declines in COVID-19 positivity rates and sharp increases in vaccination rates, NFL teams are optimistic that stadiums will once again be full next season. Planning for fans will go into the schedule-making decisions as well, Fischer reported.
Granted, all 32 teams already know which teams they will face on their 2021 slates. The schedule release simply clarifies the date and time that those games will take place. But for most NFL fans, any news on the NFL is big news.