Apr 20, 2011
So, the NFL schedule got released last night. Whoopee. Forgive me for not getting too excited about it, but I have never been the type to get worked up about the release of a schedule, even in a normal year. Obviously, this year, there is a lot more uncertainty surrounding when or where games will be played, even with the final schedule released. But to credit the NFL, there are a lot of interesting games to look at in the time being. We’ll look at some of the finer aspects of the schedule today, and we’ll try to avoid making “clever” lockout jokes about the schedule that every would-be comedian on Twitter has deemed appropriate. Hey, “comedians:” STFU. Your jokes are old, not clever, and brutally unfunny.
Anyway, here are some things we noticed about the schedule (and other people have done a fine job writing about):
The league has made a concerted effort to honor not just New York City but Washington D.C. as well on the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001, which happens to coincide perfectly with Week One of the 2011 NFL season. The Jets will take on the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football (i.e. the entire nation watching) at the Meadowlands, and the Giants will visit the Redskins that Sunday afternoon. This is a stellar PR move from a league so conscious of how it brings America together on Sundays. Of course, every great PR move has an equal and opposite PR disaster, and if the NFL doesn’t manage to play these great games after deliberately scheduling them to honor two cities deeply affected by the tragedy, it would be inexcusable. Credit Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel for his fantastic column on the situation. It’s a must-read.
As always, the Monday Night Football schedule is absolutely loaded. We kick off in Week One with the traditional double-header, and it features two classic MNF matchups: Patriots/Dolphins and Raiders/Broncos. After that, we have some more big-time matchups throughout the year: Redskins/Cowboys in Week Three, Chargers/Chiefs in Week Eight, Bears/Eagles in Week Nine, Giants/Saints in Week Twelve, and a fantastic MNF finale with Saints/Falcons in Week Sixteen. But the NFL has also made a concerted effort to get young teams on the rise into the schedule, as well. The Rams make two appearances. The Bucs host the Colts in Week Four. And, most notably, the Lions (!!!) have their first MNF game in a decade when they host the Bears in Week Five. Still, from the “Department of WTF?!?!” the Jaguars not only play in two MNF games, but they’re hosting both of them. Huh?
Though we like the NFL’s effort to get some more teams on MNF, and are excited to see some potentially under-the-radar matchups turn into playoff battles by the second half of the year, we have to admit NBC’s Sunday Night Football schedule appears to be the on-paper winner (to be fair, SNF, on a network, is more readily available). In fact, the first five weeks of the season include matchups between teams that all made the playoffs last season, except Dallas in Week One. Week Six has a classic Vikings/Bears rivalry, Weeks Eight through Eleven feature more blood-and-guts division battles, and Week Seven boasts a Super Bowl XLIV rematch between the Colts and Saints. Holy crap!
Just as an interesting note, because Christmas Day is a Sunday this year, most NFL games will be played on Saturday (Christmas Eve). The next week, with the NFL taking over New Year’s Day on Sunday, most major college bowls will move to Monday, January 2.
- Mediation continues today. De Smith will be there. So will Albert Breer. Can I go to sleep now?
- Potential first-round RB Mark Ingram insists he’s healthy. So does his agent. Glad we got an unbiased second source to corroborate that!
- The Bengals are under the assumption that neither Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco will be back next season.
- Joe Dolan