NFL could cancel Weeks 2 and 4 without losing any divisional games

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Another day, another interesting nugget about the newly released NFL schedule, once again showing that the league office planned the 2011 season with the possibility of canceling some early games in mind.

Yesterday the story was that the first three weeks of the season could easily be postponed and made up later, thanks to the scheduling of every team’s bye weeks, and the schedule for the weeks before and after the Super Bowl.

Today it’s another story along the same lines: Adam Schefter of ESPN points out that there are no divisional games in either Week Two or Week Four of the regular season. Furthermore, the 16 teams that are at home Week Two are the same 16 teams on the road Week Four.

What that means is that if Week Two and Week Four were completely scrapped, the NFL could still keep every divisional game, and still make sure every team got an equal number of home and road games (seven each, instead of eight each). So if the lockout extends into October and the NFL shortens the season to 14 games, the two weeks of regular-season games canceled wouldn’t necessarily be Weeks One and Two. It would probably be Weeks Two and Four.

Although it’s not clear what, exactly, the NFL would do if the lockout extends beyond the start of the regular season, it is clear that the NFL built a few different possibilities for canceling or postponing games into this year’s schedule. The Elias Sports Bureau says there has never been a week without a divisional game since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, but this year there will be two, done to provide the NFL with some flexibility if the labor situation goes from bad to worse.

34 responses to “NFL could cancel Weeks 2 and 4 without losing any divisional games

  1. I’m impressed they did their diligence in making sure games could be cancelled. Too bad they didn’t do the same in preventing a damn lockout– It’s only been multiple years that they saw it coming.


  3. Thanks Mister Glass Half Empty,

    Every article pushes the lockout back another week. Yesterday was three weeks and today it is 4 weeks no problem.

    Kind of like the gas prices?

  4. U know this is all becoming BS to the max. These people say they r business people…please.
    I could not go to work.. but, I would lose something.. a job. They r losing complete respect when all these issues r clear it’s just getting it done. Drop the egos or lose the fans.

  5. and I might cancel DirectV Sunday Ticket, plans to go to several games, purchases of NFL memorabilia and clothing, and go shoot some squirrels this fall.

  6. How can we as a group of angry fans create a voice loud enough to be heard from? Without us there is no football. We are the lifeblood. We need to take action.

  7. I think this is just a crazy coincidence. It seems to me that unless the Week 1 home teams have no other events (e.g., concerts, college games, etc.) scheduled at their home venue during week 4 (where, presumably, Week 1 would have to be moved), the NFL can’t simply re-slot the matchups.

    This, of course, assumes the players and owners won’t agree to play week 1, lockout for week 2, play 3, lockout for week 4 and magically come to a mutually beneficial solution before week 5 to resume play for the remainder of the season. However, I wouldn’t put it past Goodell to think that he could make something so ridiculous happen.

  8. To me all this is info the NFL is putting out to scare the players . The players see and hear all this and could say we are in trouble it will take longer than we thing to get a contract we like . My guess is the NFL linked the other story about mid level players wanting to get into the law suit . Put something out to get them thinking about it and if they do it. Well win win for the NFL.

  9. Funny thing…I did a little of my own lockout planning last year and it is starting to payoff. I hope other fans do the same:

    1) I cancelled the automatic renewal of my season tickets. Now they have to call, plead, and beg for my business and I can set back and wait for the lockout to end before I commit. The most compelling aspect of this strategy: if the lockout ends in August, I know the season will be crap and I can just skip buying season tickets altogether as punishment.

    2) I have canceled the sports package that carries the NFL Network and RedZone with my cable provider.

    3) I have started watching other sports more intently. I didn’t know that I liked hockey, baseball, and basketball so much. These sports, along with college football, will help ease my NFL addiction.

    4) Informed my wife not to buy me anymore NFL related gifts.

    Feel free to add some things I missed. If they are taking precautions, we should as well. Let me know what you guys are doing or planning to hit back…

  10. MAN – is that pot stirrin’ or what – i know, i know – you have to hook folks for hits (not that you need to sensationalize – it’s a great site!)
    here’s my (not so wild) speculation –
    guys, there will not be a day of regular training camp missed! maybe otas, mini camps – hell, maybe they learned something from vince mcmahon about hookin’ folks – all i know is GREED trumps EVERYTHING – they know that no play=no pay for ANYONE!!!

  11. use replacement players.

    otoh, $6 gas is going to make a lot of things unaffordable faster. like football. thanx bam.

  12. Looking at the Redskins schedule this would be a disaster. Weeks two and four the Redskins play the Cardinals and Rams. Being a 4th seed and in the NFC east these games are needed to stay competitive.

    If you remove these two games and the season starts of week 1, week 3, week 5. Then the Redskins first 3 games of the season are

    Week 1 Giants
    Week 3 @Dallas
    Week 5 BYE
    Week 6 Philidelphia

    That is 3 division games played consecutively with a bye week already coming after the second game. I mean, football is footbal, If you want to win in this league you can’t prey on weaker teams but I was just making a point that this would be a very difficult start to the season.

  13. The only way the fans and given a uniform voice and send a clear message is to boycott the draft.. Don’t watch it and don’t go to the draft… There are plenty of ways you can find out who your team drafted.. Why watch and give them the ratings just to be told screw you when the draft is done… They’re not showing us fans a commitment to get a deal done show why commit to watching the draft… I want a full offseason with free agency and full camps for my team to improve not just a thrown together season

  14. @dansnyder:
    What do you think other teams say when they see the Skins on their schedule?

    Just sayin”‘….

  15. dansnyder,

    i’m a skins fan too dude, but this is not going to be a good season for us. i don’t think the schedule really matters.

    also, speaking on a previous issue. I wonder how bad it would hurt the league if nobody watched the draft. Maybe they’d push to get a deal done and move the draft back to a saturday noon start time for round 1 like it should be.

  16. It won’t be necessary. The players will wake up and smell the coffee soon. But that’s fine if it cuts into basketball AND baseball seasons. They just play too many games that don’t count for anything. The Super Bowl during March Madness would be great.

  17. It will be interesting to watch DirectTV cry to the NFL that they’ve lost half of their NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers because of the lockout, which will translate to a lot of their entire subscriber base, since many people (including myself) only got DirectTV in the first place BECAUSE of Sunday Ticket.

  18. Screw DirectTV, they might have the best HD, but to hell with the Sunday Ticket, I’ve already cancelled DTV and went to ATT…frankly, the NFL should wake up and smell the coffee, the NCAA BB tournament did better than ever without them, they s&^K!

  19. These articals are driving me f’in nuts. I cant take this crap. I seriously breath football. I think we all need to boycott some of the stuff listed above. OBVIOUSLY THE PROBLEM IS THERES TOO MUCH MONEY AND NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE TO DIVIDE IT UP BETWEEN.

  20. Typing in all caps does NOT make your post more important, even though the posters apparently think it does.
    In fact, speaking for myself, there’s no quicker way to get me to skip it entirely.
    If you feel you have to yell it, I don’t want to hear it.

  21. @bleedgreen08052

    I think it’s the exact opposite. While the NFL may be a cash cow it is a league based on the ultimate team sport. The fact that there are 22 STARTERS not including special teams on a team when every other major sport has less then half that amount on a teamsport leads to issues of money being divided up. Top players more recognizable in the NFL than say baseball still usually earn less, sometimes a lot less and it makes the players feel like they are getting cheated.

    You have to remember this is a league where there is at a minimum 22 starters on a team where injuries are common and team could add another 10+ players throughout the course of the season which = more money and on top of that there is only 16 games.

    NBA = 82 regular season games – 12-15 players total – 5 starters

    MLB = 162 regular season games – 25 players total – 9 starters

    NFL = 16 regular season games – 53 players total – 22 starters(excluding special teams)

    Baseball ticket prices vary between $25 – $90 bucks on average depending on the team(yankees around that 90 mark)

    as of 2010 the league wide NFL average of ticket prices was roughly $77 bucks

    League makes a good portion of the money from advertising, licensing, TV deals.

    You also need to factor in that many times there are players getting paid obscene amounts of money and arent even starters, more like specialists like 3rd down backs Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles to name a few. Sproles alone made near 14 million the past two seasons.

    You have other guys who aren’t stars but entrenched starters who have started at the same spot for years barely making above the vet minimum.

    Think I lost exactly where I was going with this but I hope you understand my point.

  22. They can cancel them all for all I care.

    Dare I say, I can find other things to do on my Sundays in Winter and Fall.

    The NFL is entertainment. Not a way of life. I’m sure my wife and kid will figure out things to do with me available for the entire weekend.

  23. laeaglefan says: Apr 22, 2011 6:11 PM

    It will be interesting to watch DirectTV cry to the NFL that they’ve lost half of their NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers because of the lockout, which will translate to a lot of their entire subscriber base, since many people (including myself) only got DirectTV in the first place BECAUSE of Sunday Ticket.


    I don’t see that being the case.

    Many people, particularly in rural areas have to get either DirecTV or Dish Network, and DirecTV is a far better deal between those two. There are numerous channels on DirecTV my cable system doesn’t carry (including most notably, WGN where I get a decent number of Cubs and White Sox games), and I don’t bother with Sunday Ticket.

    I still think what will happen is in the next week or two the networks are going to ramp up the pressure on the NFL and players to get a deal done before the upfronts have to be done for ad buyers mid-to-late next month. As the NFL is the 800-pound gorilla of TV ratings, the networks (including ESPN in the case of ABC) need the NFL programming to promote their prime time lineups in an era of otherwise seriously diminishing TV ratings (for programs not named American Idol or Dancing With The Stars), and because of that need assurances that a full season will be played before the upfronts in order to get maximum rates from ad buyers for their respective network fall shows. That to me is I think will force a settlement.

  24. In a war of attrition between billionaires and millionaires, take the billionaires. Settle in, though, because this will take a while. The players aren’t going to cave until they have to, which doesn’t come until late September or so. The owners aren’t ever going to cave, as they want fundamental change, and are following the NHL 2005 model – just hang tough, and wait for the players to cave in eventually (and they will – the NHL union leadership wanted it to go to a second year, and was overthrown in a player revolt.)

    This isn’t a gap that can be bridged by one side or the other putting some water in their wine. The gulf is too big. There will be a winner and a loser, with the loser (Either De Smith or Goodell) paying with their job.

  25. I am a Western Canadian Atlanta Falcons fan and I have been excited to see my first live NFL game since I heard Atlanta will be playing in Seattle. Being from Alberta, Seattle is the only legitimate chance I will have to see my team live any time soon. I will be pretty choked if they cancel week 4.

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