The 2020 NFL season is the 101st of the National Football League. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no preseason games. The regular season began on September 10, 2020. The final day of the regular season is scheduled for January 3, 2021. The NFL playoffs are set to begin on January 9, and the Super Bowl is scheduled for February 7.
A touchdown is worth six points. A touchdown is counted when the team is in possession of the football advances the ball past the goal line into the end zone; there is one goal line at each end of the 100-yard football field, and each end zone is 10 yards long.
An extra point kick is worth one point, and a two-point conversion is worth two points. After a touchdown is scored, the scoring team can elect to attempt an extra point kick or a two-point conversion. An extra point kick is counted when the ball is kicked through the uprights of the goal post that is located in the end zone A two-point conversion is counted when the team in possession of the ball advances it past the goal line.
A field goal kick is worth three points. A field goal is counted when the team in possession of the ball kicks the ball through the uprights of the goal post that is located in the end zone. Unlike an extra point, a field goal can be attempted at any time and from any distance.
A safety is worth two points. A safety is counted when the defensive team forces the offensive team to down the ball in the end zone on the opposite side of the field from the end zone the offensive team was advancing toward.
After the 17-week, the 16-game regular season is complete, 14 teams advance to the NFL playoffs. Seven teams from the American Football Conference (AFC) and seven teams from the National Football Conference (NFC) go to the playoffs.
The team with the best regular-season record in the AFC and the team with the best regular-season record in the NFC each earn the No. 1 seed for their respective conferences in the playoffs. The No. 1 seed allows a team to get a bye in the first round of the playoffs, and it gives them home-field advantage for any playoff game they play in before the Super Bowl.
The remaining six seeds in each conference play each other in the first round (called the wild-card round) of the playoffs in a single-game elimination format. The matchups are determined by seeding based on regular-season record and whether a team wins their respective division during the regular season.
The three teams in each conference that win their first-round playoff games advance to the second round (called the divisional round). The No. 1 seed in each conference plays its first playoff game in the second round. The matchups for the second round are determined by seeding.
The two teams in each conference that win their second-round playoff games advance to the third round (called the conference championship).
The winners of the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games meet in the Super Bowl. The winner of the Super Bowl is the NFL champion for that season.
The NFL regular season schedule covers 17 weeks. Each team plays 16 games, having one scheduled bye week during the season. Some weeks, there are no scheduled byes and the NFL has 16 games played, with every team in the league in action. Some weeks, up to four teams have scheduled byes and the NFL will have up to 14 games played.
In most weeks of the NFL schedule, there are games played on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday. The vast majority of games are played on Sunday. Some weeks there may be games scheduled for Friday or Saturday.
Due to players on teams testing positive for COVID-19, during the 2020 NFL season, there were some games that were postponed and rescheduled for rare gamedays like Tuesday and Wednesday.
The week before the Super Bowl, the NFL traditionally holds the Pro Bowl, the name for the league’s all-star game. For the 2020 season, the Pro Bowl will not be played on the field but instead will be a simulated Madden video game using the real Pro Bowl rosters.
The annual NFL Draft is held during the offseason, usually in April or May. NFL teams will draft from a pool of draft-eligible college football players.
The draft has seven rounds, with 32 picks in each round – one pick for each team. The teams with the worst regular-season records are given the highest draft picks in each round in an effort to help those teams improve. However, teams often trade draft picks, so the draft order rarely remains consistent.
The NFL Draft is traditionally a major event with fans traveling from all over the world to attend. Through the first and second rounds, draft-eligible players often attend the event and go on stage after they are selected to accept a symbolic jersey and hat for their new professional team. In the later rounds, players typically do not attend.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL Draft was held remotely. Draft picks were announced on television and players were filmed at their homes reacting to being drafted. Fans were also filmed reacting from their homes.
The draft usually covers three days. The first round is held on Day 1, the second and third rounds are on Day 2, and rounds four through seven are on Day 3.
The 2021 NFL Draft is scheduled for April 29-May 1.
There are 32 teams in the NFL. They are split among two conferences, the AFC and NFC, and four divisions per conference.
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers
Green Bay Packers
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New York Giants
Washington Football Team
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Building and maintaining a dominant championship dynasty in the NFL is extremely difficult. Keeping a talented and successful core group of players together for a long time must endure challenges such as injuries, free agency departures, wear and tear on players’ bodies, and high turnover rate among the coaching staff. The assistant coaches on successful NFL teams are typically hired by other teams to become head coaches, negatively impacting the team’s chemistry and cohesion.
Which makes the accomplishments of the New England Patriots over the last two decades even more impressive. From the 2001 season to the 2018 season, the Patriots appeared in nine Super Bowls and won six of them. Head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady stayed together that entire time, and while many of the surrounding parts came and went, the Patriots established and maintained a winning system and culture.
Brady eventually left the Patriots during the 2020 offseason, and New England proceeded to miss the playoffs in 2020.
In recent years, in addition to the Patriots, some of the NFL’s consistently high-rankings teams have been the Kansas City Chiefs (reigning Super Bowl champions), Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers.
There are 32 teams in the NFL, split between two conferences (AFC, NFC) and four divisions per conference (AFC North, AFC South, AFC East, AFC West, NFC North, NFC South, NFC East, NFC West).
Most NFL games are broadcast on local and national TV stations in the United States. There are several online streaming services available to watch games for a fee, including Sling, Fubo, and the NFL’s official app.
The Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears were part of the NFL in the league’s first season in 1920. The Cardinals, however, existed as a pro football franchise even before the NFL’s existence.
The Cardinals’ history dates back to 1898 when they were based in Chicago and called the Morgan Athletic Club. They eventually became the Cardinals and moved from Chicago to St. Louis to Arizona.
The NFL playoffs consist of four rounds. The first round is known as the wild-card round; the second round is called the divisional round; the third round is the conference championship round, and the fourth and final round is the Super Bowl.
It can be hard to find the NFL game of your choice if you don't have DIRECTV's NFL Sunday Ticket. If you have basic cable, you can watch the games CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network chooses to show in your area or on national TV.
Two free alternatives are the official NFL app and the Yahoo! Sports app. NFL games are available to live stream for free on your phone or tablet, but you can only watch games that are being shown in your local market.
The NFL app and Yahoo! Sports app streaming services are not available outside of the United States.