Week One schedule could be league office’s power play to end lockout


Last night, we pointed out that a lockout that chews into the regular season would result in the loss of multiple significant games in Week One.

That concept provided the meat for our official PFT Live take on the situation.

We think that the decision to drop six excellent games into the opening weekend — Saints-Packers, Steelers-Ravens, Falcons-Bears, Colts-Texans, Giants-Redskin, and Cowboys-Jets — represents a calculated effort by the league office to place maximum pressure on both the players and the owners to work out their differences in time to permit Week One to be played.

While in many ways the league office and the owners are one in the same, the league office can’t do a deal without 24 owners supporting it.  But the league office has full discretion to configure the schedule without approval from ownership.  And if the league office did so in a way that squeezes both sides toward a deal, then good for the league office.

More specifically, the decision to send the Saints to Lambeau Field on September 8 may have been a nudge to New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who has been heavily involved in the labor dispute but who surely relishes the chance to start the season by doing to the Packers that which the Saints didn’t have a chance to do during the 2010 postseason.  And the decision to send the Cowboys to New York/New Jersey on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 for a game against the Jets may have been a nudge to Dallas owner Jerry Jones, who has been driving a hard bargain but who nevertheless can’t pass up a chance be at the center of the NFL universe.

If it helps get a deal done, then it was a brilliant move.  But if the lockout chews up the first week of the season, it’ll result in even more fan anger being directed at everyone associated with this mess.

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31 responses to “Week One schedule could be league office’s power play to end lockout

  1. For games missed in the event the lockout fails to lift how would that affect divisional game tie breakers? The loss of divisional games in week one or successive weeks would mean that they would have to eliminate that process, wouldn’t it?

  2. Quite to the contrary the announcing of the first week’s schedule only serves to make the Ravens get down on their hands and knees and pray for the lockout to extend this far.

  3. Your theory is so trite it’s pathetic. Even as a named plaintiff in this class action, Brees has no more say in the settlement than any other player. He’s not doing the negotiating. And Jerry Jones is surely more focused on the long term than having the opportunity to stand on the sidelines while the crowd and the TV audience think about those who died ten years ago. Of course, if we start to talk about how Jerry is going to pay his mortgage come 9/11/11, now that’s another matter.

  4. My question is if Judge Nelson makes a decision to lift the lockout, will free agency begin immediately while the owners appeal?

  5. Here’s another thought. The Week 1 schedule was built for damage control. There are/is going to be a lot of disgruntled fans. The NFL has to build back trust and interest. They are assuming there will be a Week 1 and then need to come out with a bang to get people interested again.

  6. I honestly don’t know how I feel about Ravens v. Steelers in week 1. . . Both teams would likely be the healthiest they will be all season. It’s something I will have to think about.

  7. I disagree, in the case of the Ravens they would lose a home game against the Steelers. They would be stuck with one game vs a top division rival on the road. That would be a huge benefit to the Steelers.

  8. I think that if ANY games are missed that they should cancel the entire season. In other words, ALL or NOTHING. A partial season due to the lockout would be a travesty.

  9. Jets-Cowboys? oh yea.. thats just got greatness written all over it. Give me the Bucs-Lions game any day over either of those “look at me” teams.

  10. Judge Nelson is going to take care of this little lockout in a few days. She’s not a happy camper right about now. She could care less who is playing who on week one.

    It’s too bad it’s come down to this. A woman judge deciding the future of football.

    No one is going to be very happy when this is over. The fans, the players, the teams, the coaches, the owners, everybody is going to be pissed.

  11. “My question is if Judge Nelson makes a decision to lift the lockout, will free agency begin immediately while the owners appeal?”

    This could bring up a weird situation. As soon as the judge lifts the lockout, the league would ask the that same judge to hold the ruling until a appeal has a chance to work out. But the judge could say no to that, If that is the case then the league would open and free agency and trades would begin until an appeal was ruled on.

    If the league was smart and the judge does rule to lift the lockout before the draft, they would allow the ruling to stand for a few weeks until th appeal was heard. This would give the fans the draft that we all love. And the Teams a chance to sign players and be ready for the season.

    Most likely though this won’t happen. My guess is sometime this week or next the judge will lift the lockout then grant a stay to the league until an appeal is heard sometime in june or july. Most likely they will have struck a deal by then anyway.

    My hope is for the judge to rule and the league to allow player movement so that I can personally enjoy my favorite part of the season, the offseason draft and free agency.

  12. I’m not wild about having a Steelers/Ravens game on opening day no matter where it’s played. We look forward to those games as mid- and late-season matchups that usually wind up deciding the division and wildcard spots. And who on earth did the Browns tick off?

    @thefiesty1 …

    Yeah, it’s a shame to have a female judge presiding over this debacle. Heaven knows the men have done such a wonderful job of it so far 🙄

  13. I agree with fatelvis77. If you were fighting for better health care coverage, pay and working conditions would you sacrifice that because an event at work was coming up that you didn’t really want to miss? We all want this settled but I think the players have some legitimate concerns. I think guys who get their heads banged around for 10 years should have their health care costs taken care of for life after their career is over. I think they will sacrifice an exciting match-up for the greater good.

  14. I would say the loss of marquee matchups harms the league more than it harms the players. It’s not like players get better game checks depending on the opponent.

  15. I posted this very thing…….

    Kave Krew says:
    Apr 19, 2011 9:27 PM
    A strong start to the schedule was done on purpose – it’s a signal and incentive to the player’s competive nature to get on the field for battle.

    I feel like Kramer getting his Ocean cologne stolen from him by Calvin Klein………oooohhhhh yyyeaaahhh……now, i am willing to model PFT underwear for you in the next edition of SI if you choose…..people consider me athletic, have sublime buttocks…. but my pecs need work but i am willing to go to a gym…….

  16. Who cares about week 1. Week 17 has the biggest fantasy football matchup of the season with CJ @ Arian. Many fantasy superbowls will hinge on that game.

  17. I hope the strike doesn’t end and they run a bunch of replacement players out there like they did back in the day.
    Those games will be a joke.
    Buddy Ryan [Eagles] said after the first practice he would trade his entire team for any other team in the league “sight unseen” they were so pathetic.
    I only hope history can repeat itself because it was great.
    I have several tapes of ESPN highlights showing those games and it was ….. it was what it was.
    Never a dull moment… just a dull game.

  18. The start of the season has good games but every year I hear the same thing, you need to win in Nov. and Dec., I think that is crap, if you win your early games they count just as much as the later ones. The season needs to be on time with the regular players or cancel the whole season.

  19. I have an idea…Lets all of us fans unite and boycott buying any NFL merchandise….then lets let them play in empty stadiums and watch the game on TV…then the next time they wanna pull this crap they might think back and say…gee chumly this might not be a good idea…BEING A vIKING FAN MEANS i DONT REALLY CARE ABOUT THIS SEASON ANYMORE…i would love all us fans to stick it to them this time…lets do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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