Yesterday was the he tenth of May – that day should always be remembered as “Woolworth Day”. If you are under the age of 30, Google is your friend…
Last Friday, I offered up a couple of quick observations about the NFL schedule that was released late last week. Over the weekend, I certainly did not have any live sports action of any consequence to distract me; so, I looked more carefully and deeply into the NFL schedule for 2020.
Before we get to specifics, let me be clear that I give the NFL kudos for producing a schedule for an entire season – – 256 regular season games that will lead to a 14-team playoff schedule in January. I really hope they can pull that off; I am not convinced that will be the case, but I am rooting for them.
Here are six more schedule specifics that I noticed/found interesting:
- The Seahawks will play in NYC two consecutive weeks – – against the Giants and Jets. Why go home?
- The Pats see the Seahawks schedule anomaly and take it one step further. The Pats fly to LA to play the Chargers on Sunday and then have the Rams scheduled in LA for the following Thursday. No way they are flying home and back for that second game against the Rams…
- Thursday Night Football will have one of its games on Friday night this year. That Friday would be Christmas night. Whatever NBA game(s) are scheduled head-to-head with the Vikings/Saints game in that prime-time slot will not do nearly as well as anticipated.
- In both Weeks 15 and 16, there are 5 designated games where the date and time are listed as “TBD”. What that means is that as many as 3 of those 5 games may be played on the Saturday of that weekend and not Sunday. The NFL is going for even more “national exposure games” – – assuming there are games that weekend…
- The Jets travel to play the Dolphins. The next week, both teams have BYE Weeks. The week after the BYE Week, the Dolphins travel to play the Jets. Strange…
- In Week 17 – the final week of the season in the first week of January – all 16 games will be division games. That should mean more games will “matter” when it comes to playoff berths.
I would also like to point out a soupçon of hypocrisy on the part of the NFL. For decades, the NFL vehemently opposed legalized sports betting on pro football arguing that it would corrupt – even destroy – the “integrity of the games”. The NFL encouraged the passing of PASPA in 1992 and fought the legal challenges to PASPA undertaken by the State of New Jersey a few years ago once again trying to convince the Supreme Court that the integrity – the very existence – of pro football required limiting gambling on those games. The Supreme Court eighty-sixed those pleadings; now you can gamble on sports – including pro football – in more than a dozen States, and there has been no crumbling of NFL football as a sports attraction in the US. And now … in 2020:
- The NFL will have a team in Las Vegas – – that den of iniquity where sports betting has been legal all along and where bettors weekly threatened the “integrity of the games”.
- Moreover, the NFL will showcase that team – the Las Vegas Raiders – as the hosts in 4 of the league’s national telecasts.
And if you confronted Roger Goodell with that hypocrisy on live TV, I am sure that he would immediately revert to his animatronic suit-dummy mode and say that the NFL has always thought that Las Vegas would be a great place for a franchise because of the passion of the fans there… Give me a [bleeping] break! A United States Marine Corps Honor Guard could not execute an about face any more quickly.
Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot had this observation regarding the recently revealed NFL schedule for 2020:
“Truth teller: Lest some fans get too excited over the release of the NFL’s 2020 schedule, Saints coach Sean Payton tactfully reminds people that only ‘10 or 11 teams are relevant each season.’ I don’t think he cleared that statement with NFL headquarters.”
Preach on, Brother Molinaro…
While on the subject of professional football in the US, there were reports over the weekend that the XFL is “For Sale”. Axios reports that Vince McMahon has sought the services of an investment bank to solicit letters of intent and ultimately formal bids to purchase the XFL in its entirety. If you are thinking that it might be a hoot to put in a bid for “3 easy payments of only $39.95”, let me offer a word of caution and suggest that you might wind up as the owner. There might be a really rich guy out there who is not quite rich enough to buy an NFL team when one hits the market or maybe one who knows he will not pass the muster of 24 affirmative votes from the current owners, so maybe that guy steps up and tries to buy “the next best thing”. I have my doubts – – but I do not hob-knob with folks in that sphere of society, so I do not know.
Finally, Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times had a great comment that marries the release of the NFL schedule with its inherent uncertainty:
“How soon before we see these odds listed among the tiny type in the sports section: ‘Sept 10: COVID (-19) vs. NFL opener?’”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………