CLEVELAND, Ohio — This feels different.
For me, the 2020 NFL schedule release landed a bit awkwardly compared to the draft just two weeks ago. Much of the rollout was the same. Trey Wingo seated in Bristol navigating viewers through an ESPN broadcast felt right. I was grateful the draft went on as planned and dissecting all 32 schedules was equally fulfilling.
Once bliss faded, I realized Thursday had to be the most mystery-riddled schedule rollout in NFL history. It felt like agreeing to meet a new online dating connection.
I spent time contemplating what games I liked or didn’t, just like swiping left or right. There are schedules I’m more drawn to and I’ve enjoyed unpacking what certain games within those schedules could mean. Browns versus Ravens in Baltimore to start sure sounds nice. Any game against the Cowboys grabs attention and Freddie Kitchens will share a field with Baker Mayfield again come Christmas.
We’ll all talk about the schedule as long as possible, parsing each intricacy because this connection feels worthwhile. But eventually, it’ll come time to meet up. There is always that natural reservation when it’s time to meet a Bumble connection, Tinder date, Hinge match or whatever online dating service one fancies.
Are their photos updated?
Was I actually talking to the person on screen?
What if our messaging chemistry doesn’t translate to in-person energy?
Like the person asking themselves such questions prior to a first date, as I keep sifting through NFL schedules, all I can do is hope this is real.
On Friday, Ronaldo Souza was ruled out of UFC 249 after testing positive for coronavirus, but the Pay-Per-View pushed on. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently laid out plans to resume play at one or two neutral sites and play games without fans, though nothing is confirmed.
Both those league’s looming decisions don’t bode well for NFL fans in stadiums, despite the contingency plans Roger Goodell and company built in. But a lot can change between May and August.
I hope NFL fans get to see Odell Beckham Jr. back in the Meadowlands with the end zones painted blue. Fans deserve to see Lamar Jackson dashin’ in Baltimore. Burrow bombing in orange and Ben Roethlisberger twilight through Steel City.
No one, including the NBA, is a rush to make any major decisions, nor should they. So for the time being, I’m going to keep scrolling right on fans in stadiums & sexy NFL matchups.
By summer’s end, we’ll know if we’ve been catfished or not.
On the NFL schedule release
Cleveland Browns 2020 schedule: Open Sept. 13 at the Ravens — Mary Kay Cabot shares the Browns schedule and what players are saying about it.
Week-by-week look at Browns 2020 schedule: History and what to watch each game — Dan Labbe breaks down Cleveland’s schedule and gives his views on what to watch.
2020 NFL schedule: Team-by-team look at the matchups — Matt Goul provides a one-stop-shop for the NFL schedule.
How the Cleveland Browns and Ohio State Buckeyes football schedules fit together for fans of both teams — Doug Lesmerises connects the Browns schedule with Ohio State and tells fans how they come together.
Who has the easiest and toughest NFL schedules in 2020? — Ellis L. Williams identifies what three teams have easiest and most difficult schedules.
On other Browns’ news
Beckham predicts one of his best seasons post-surgery: ‘Bigger, faster, stronger – this is my time’ –Cabot shares the latest on OBJ and what he has planned for 2020.
How versatile Harrison Bryant can help the Browns as a rookie TE in 2020 — Williams explains why Bryant is the perfect fit in Cleveland.
Baker Mayfield on Kevin Stefanski: ‘He’s climbed the ladder quickly because he’s well-respected’– Read about coach Stefanski’s latest comments on the Browns quarterback.
Orange and Brown Talk podcast
Cabot, Labbe and Williams took a look at the schedule and worked their way through it for Friday’s Orange and Brown Talk Podcast.
So, for this schedule release day edition of the Orange and Brown Talk podcast, Lesmerises, Labbe and Williams picked our favorite games, fantasy-draft style. We picked 15 of the 16 games, leaving one undrafted, in a snake draft.
New Browns face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Cleveland Browns-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection for adults and youth, including a single mask ($14.99) and a 3-pack ($24.99). All NFL proceeds donated to CDC Foundation.