NFL schedule leaves room to make up for losing first three weeks


The NFL’s recently released schedule for the 2011 regular season contains an interesting feature that suggests the league has a backup plan in place to allow for a full season even if the lockout causes up to three weeks of missed games: Every team plays an opponent in Week Three that has the same bye week later in the season.

As Adam Schefter of ESPN pointed out, all Week Three opponents having the same bye week, and there’s also a week off between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, and the NFL has booked hotels in Indianapolis for two weeks in February. That means that the NFL could lose the first three weeks of the season and still have time to make up those games.

As a practical matter, if the lockout extends into September, the season could be played in full as long as it could start by Week Four. If that happened, the league would presumably start the season on October 2 with the Week Four schedule as currently constituted, then play each team’s schedule as usual, with every Week Three game during each team’s bye week. Weeks One and Two would then be played after Week Seventeen.

The wild card playoff games would then be played January 21-22 (the weekend currently slated to have the conference championships), the divisional round games would be played January 28-29 (currently slated to be the bye week before the Super Bowl), the conference championship games would be played on February 5 (currently slated to be Super Bowl Sunday), and the Super Bowl would be pushed back a week to February 12.

We’re hoping the labor situation gets resolved much, much sooner than that. But even if the lockout is still going in September, there’s hope for a 16-game regular season that wouldn’t start until October.

25 responses to “NFL schedule leaves room to make up for losing first three weeks

  1. “NFL schedule leaves room to make up for losing first three weeks”

    Did they leave any room to make up for lost Respect from the fans like myself

  2. Yeah, split it up & play ball. I can’t set travel plans around a guess & why did you bother releasing a schedule??

  3. The date of 9/11 for the first week’s games makes me think they will get something done before the season starts.

    If they get to the first week of the season and the games in NYC & DC are cancelled on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, because Billionaires and Millionaires are fighting over how to split up $700 million dollars….. I just don’t think they would risk that PR nightmare. Something’s going to get done to avoid that.

  4. Granted, it would suck if they don’t resolve this in a timely manner before the season is scheduled to start, it would be interesting to see how those changes would affect a teams season if they were implemented.

  5. …am I the only one who believes that – because GREED is such a powerful force – all of those chuckleheads must know that if they do not play – NOBODY makes money??!!!

  6. This may explain the Bye Week fiasco!! You know, weeks 5 – 9 THEN week 11 (nothing in week 10). I didn’t understand that one at all!!

  7. I guess this works well as an absolute worst-case scenario, but the game is in a lot of trouble if it comes to this. Missing the first three weeks would mean that the players are coming in with little to no time to get back in shape and get adjusted to playing with each other. The product on the field would be well below what we are used to in the NFL. Then teams would play 16 games in a row with no bye week to a) recover or b) improve their timing and adjust their playbook. All this combined with, as already pointed out the fact that the season opens on September 11th, leads me to think that this scenario won’t end up playing itself out. But we are all in for a disappointing season if it does.

  8. Great … the schedulers have come up with a way to work the problem that increases likelihood of player injury and teams going into the playoffs without some of their top-tier talent. 😐

  9. Anyone else think it might be time to find something else to enjoy in our free time?

  10. in a previous article you said the league office was putting pressure on the the league. doh!

  11. joshborden says:
    Apr 21, 2011 6:05 PM
    “NFL schedule leaves room to make up for losing first three weeks”

    Did they leave any room to make up for lost Respect from the fans like myself


    One of the best comeback comments i’ve read in regards to this crap…..

  12. Judge Nelson can end all of the speculation about the schedule by simply lifting the lockout NOW. Once she makes a ruling, it won’t be overturned on appeal.

  13. Late January games in Cleveland, Buffalo, Green Bay, Chicago, New England, etc., etc., etc. will be absolutely invigorating for players and fans. I am sure there will be no weather snafus in that scenario.

  14. Better yet…did they leave room to encourage DirecTV to offer 50% discounts for this crummy, watered down season to get customers back like myself that cancelled Sunday Ticket?

  15. C’mon guys. Have a little faith. The season will start on time. Just as soon as the players get their heads out of their a$$.

    Judge Nelson is going to take care of it and the lockout will be lifted (next week?).

  16. All it takes is missing the first game’s opening kickoff.

    Let alone the first 3 weeks!!

  17. stiffarm37 says:
    Apr 21, 2011 6:11 PM
    A full season plus playoffs without a bye week? Ouch.


    You mean like they did from 1978 until 1993? Oh, the horror!!!!!

  18. stiffarm37 says:
    Apr 21, 2011 6:11 PM
    A full season plus playoffs without a bye week? Ouch.

    That’s how it used to be done. The bye weeks were first added in I think 1990, and the ’93 actually each team getting two bye weeks. The second bye week didn’t work because the NFL was under pressure at that time from the networks to have all the bye weeks done with before the “November Sweeps” (and this was with the season starting on Labor Day weekend as it did through 1997, including that season actually starting on August 31).

    I still think what will happen is the networks in the next week or two are going to apply severe pressure to the NFL to get a deal done. There is too much at stake for the networks as the NFL is the 800-pound gorilla of TV ratings, and the networks have the up-fronts for ad buyers coming up in less than a month. The networks (including ESPN in the case of ABC) are going to need certainty if at all possible that their prime time shows will be promoted during NFL games in September in order to charge ad buyers the highest rates possible for ads during prime time programming. That’s why I think a deal will be done before then.

  19. I want games to happen as normal, but it would be VERY interesting to see the first 3 scheduled games of the season happen in January instead of September. The first week in particular would be very interesting: Atlanta at Chicago, New Orleans at Green Bay… I think Atlanta & New Orleans would much rather play those games in balmy/mild September instead of brutally cold January.

    Other interesting matchups where weather would be more of a factor: Oakland at Buffalo (scheduled for week 2), San Diego at New England (week 2), Green Bay at Chicago (week 3).

    Plus, if the Metrodome collapses again add the Tampa Bay at Minnesota game.

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