With the NFL hell bent on adding two weekends to the current calendar and the Super Bowl seemingly destined to move to Presidents’ Day Weekend, the powers-that-be at NASCAR have decided to jump before they get nudged into the wall.
But they’re not saying that the move of the 2012 season kickoff to February 26 is the direct result of a looming move of the Super Bowl.
“We have a very short offseason,” NASCAR senior vice president Steve O’Donnell told David Newton of ESPN.com. “This gives us a little more time shortening up the season.”
Then again, maybe they are.
“We’re not going to deny the fact that part of this also is in dealing with the NFL,” O’Donnell said. “Who knows where they’ll go with an 18-game schedule? But we want to get ahead of that.
“Either way, we think it’s the right thing to do for our season to kick off. The Super Bowl’s certainly a big event, but so’s the Daytona 500. To give fans an opportunity to go to both of those we think is the right move, it’s a win-win for everybody.”
Last week, NFL CFO Mark Waller explained during an appearance on PFT Live that moving the Super Bowl to Presidents’ Day Weekend may not be an ideal outcome for the league, given that plenty of people travel on the last official three-day weekend before Memorial Day. That said, fans who have long been clamoring for the game to be played on Saturday night likely will settle for a move to the Sunday of a holiday weekend, which will allow folks to stay up late and enjoy the game (along with their favorite legal beverages), without having to worry about school or work the next day.
The next two Super Bowls have firm dates in 2012 and 2013. The league has not yet assigned a specific Sunday to Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be played in New Jersey in February 2014.