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Annual NFL Hall of Fame Game in August has been cancelled

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Calling off the game that annually opens the NFL preseason suggests that official cancellation of other preseason games could be coming soon.

Dallas Cowboys v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NFL’s Hall of Fame Game — a fifth preseason game played in Canton, Ohio on the same weekend as the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s annual enshrinement ceremony — has been cancelled. In addition, this year’s Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony has been postponed until 2021.

The Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers had been scheduled to play the game on August 6. They will now begin their training camps on July 28 — just like all other NFL teams except the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, which will officially open their camps on July 25, giving them an extra three days to prepare for the Thursday night season opener on September 10.

“The health and safety of our Hall of Famers, fans and volunteers who make Enshrinement Week so special remains our top priority,” said Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker in an offical statement. “The Hall will honor the Centennial Class of 2020 next August, along with what promises to be an equally spectacular Class of 2021, as part of a multi-day celebration of football with an atmosphere that will deliver for fans ‘Twice the Fun in ‘21.’”

While this news doesn’t directly involve the Chiefs, it is a sure sign that a reduction in the number of preseason games is right around the corner. Just over two weeks ago, we leaned that the league was having internal discussions about reducing the number of preseason games for each team from four to two. This announcement would make it appear more likely that the league is coming closer to a decision to do exactly that.

As it happens, league owners are conducting virtual meetings on Thursday. An announcement about the rest of the preseason schedule could be coming very soon.