Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

It’s Never Too Early To Plan Ahead

Posted by mizzou1028 on April 16, 2008

The 2008 NFL schedule is out!  Okay, so most people out there probably don’t really care, but for a football junkie like me this is a big deal.  It turns out that apparently I’m not the only one who waits on pins and needles for the release of the schedule; ESPN and NFL Network had simultaneous TWO HOUR specials yesterday that broke down seemingly every game on the 2008 slate.  If you think it’s insane to be interested in the timing of games that won’t take place until the fall, try booking a hotel in Green Bay on a Packers home game weekend.  Go ahead, try it now, I’ll wait. 

No vacancies?  I thought so.  Packers fans watch for the release of the schedule, and then it’s a mad dash to book hotel rooms on the weekends of home games.  This is how insane us die hard fans can get about the release of the schedule.  We want to make sure that nothing gets in the way of being able to watch our favorite team play.  Personally, I’m ecstatic about the timing of the Broncos’ lone Thursday night game in Cleveland (on Nov. 6) because it means I am free to attend a wedding that weekend without worry that I’ll be missing a Broncos game.  You’d be surprised how many people out there will wait to find out when their team will be playing before booking major events like weddings, and then scramble to book during their team’s bye week.  Seriously, do you want to risk missing the Patriots-Colts showdown because you prematurely scheduled a trip to a remote island with no television?

Planning purposes aside, I want to know what kind of road my team will be facing in the coming season.  Now, I already knew the Broncos’ home and away opponents for 2008 because those are set years in advance, but there is still a sense of anticipation knowing exactly when the games will take place and in what order.  I frankly am disappointed that the Broncos have no prime time home games this season; every regular season home game will be on a Sunday afternoon.  I suppose there are advantages to this (nicer weather, a semblance of routine if you go to all the games) but reading between the lines, this means the league believes the Broncos will not be very good.  The Broncos have three road night games, Monday nighters at Oakland (the season opener) and at New England plus the aforementioned Thursday game in Cleveland.  The Broncos have always been a team that even when they aren’t the best in the league have had their fare share of prime time appearances, in large part because the home environment at Invesco Field at Mile High should be one of the best in the league and worthy of at least one such game on that stage.   That point aside, it’s safe to say the Broncos’ offseason has been less than impressive, so perhaps the powers that be simply feel they are not a team that’s worthy of as many prime time appearances as the elite of the league.    It is interesting to note that it is impossible to tell at this time of year what teams will have a good year and which ones won’t.  This is a challenge the league faces as they try to decide which teams should garner the most appearances on prime time.  The flexible scheduling for the Sunday night games in the second half of the season does help a great deal with this, but it is still a challenge.

As a random side note, the league has selected two teams with lots of star power, the Chargers and Saints, to play a regular season game in London this year.  Now, I don’t necessarily have a problem with the league playing games outside the country, but I have an issue with the Saints of all teams being the one to lose a home game.  The Saints already lost a home game in 2005 because of Hurricane Katrina (and in fact couldn’t play any games in the Superdome that year) and now the Saints’ fans in New Orleans lose their one chance in an eight year time frame to see arguably the game’s most talented player in LaDanian Tomlinson.  So the Saints not only lose a home game, but their fans lose one of the Saints’ more attractive matchups that would have taken place in the Superdome.  It seems as though the NFL ought to be more concerned with taking care of its core fans here before trying to broaden the game abroad.  This doesn’t even take into account the disadvantage this puts the Saints in the NFC West race, playing only seven home games while the other teams in the division play eight.  Sure the Chargers have to play in London too, but they still get eight home games at Qualcomm Stadium.  Something about that just doesn’t seem fair. 

I do have to admit I am very excited overall from a football standpoint to see the schedule come out.  Maybe it’s because I’ve always had a larger interest in football than any other sport, even though I very much enjoy several others.  Frankly I’ve been in football withdrawal since the Super Bowl, and the release of the schedule means we’re getting a tad closer to a new season, even if it’s still far away on the radar. 


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