Football fans will have to wait a couple of more months before they're able to begin circling dates on calendars.
Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk) reported on Thursday that the schedule for the 2021 NFL regular season won't be unveiled until the second week of May. As Fischer noted, that would make the event the latest schedule release in the history of the league.
Two factors presumably contributing to the delay are that the NFL is "highly likely" to announce a 17-game season that will push Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles back seven days from Feb. 6 to Feb. 13, and also the hope that continued vaccine distributions throughout the country will allow clubs to plan for filled stadiums in September.
Last month, Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker said that he believes there's a "good shot" the Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers scheduled for Aug. 5 will be the first NFL event held inside a full stadium since Super Bowl LIV took place in February 2020. The New England Patriots are among teams that have emailed season-ticket holders about intentions of completely filling a venue for home games this fall.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL has worked closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials on attendance proposals.