In case you missed it, the NFL released their 2011-2012 schedule yesterday.
Assuming the labor dispute is resolved and the season starts on time, the first game of the season is scheduled for Sept. 8 with the 2010 Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints visiting the 2011 Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.
The NFL’s decision to release the schedule around the same time as usual was an attempt to keep the fans optimistic about next season. Additionally, the two sides resumed court-ordered mediation talks on Tuesday and it appears that the judge may offer a ruling about halting the lockout soon.
Per the Washington Post,
That resolution potentially could come in the next few days. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson told attorneys for the league and the players at the end of an April 6 hearing in St. Paul, Minn., that she would need a couple of weeks to rule on the players’ request for a preliminary injunction to end the lockout.
If Nelson grants the players’ request and the league is unable to get a stay of the injunction pending an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the NFL would go back into operation at least temporarily. If that happens, the upcoming season potentially would be played ” probably under last season’s rules, which did not include a salary cap” while the players; antitrust litigation against the owners would continue to play out in court.
Representatives of the league and the players’ side met Tuesday at a federal courthouse in Minneapolis with Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan, the mediator appointed last week by Nelson when she ordered the parties to resume talks. Boylan had given the participants in the talks three days off after two days of joint negotiations last week. The talks resumed Tuesday without DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the dissolved players’ union. Smith did not participate because of a family medical emergency, according to a spokesman for the players’ side. The talks are scheduled to continue Wednesday.
Although it appears progress is being made in the case, we’re all aware that negotiations could drag on for months; delaying the start of the season. With that said, getting excited about a schedule for an NFL season that is currently in jeopardy isn’t wise because of the emotional trauma it will inevitably cause. However, if your tolerance can withstand the consequences, take a look at some of the national games planned for “next season”:
- Season Opener: New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers; Thursday, Sept. 8 NBC
- Sunday Night Football Opener: Dallas Cowboys @ NY Jets; Sunday, Sept. 11 NBC
- Monday Night Football Opener(s): New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins; followed by Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos; Monday, Sept. 12 ESPN
- Sunday Night Football: Philadelphia Eagles (Michael Vick) @ Atlanta Falcons; Sunday, Sept. 18
- Thanksgiving: Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys; Thursday, Nov. 24 CBS
- Thanksgiving: Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions; Thursday, Nov. 24 FOX
- Thanksgiving: Baltimore Ravens (John Harbaugh) @ San Francisco 49ers (Jim Harbaugh) ; Thursday, Nov. 24 NFLN
- Christmas Eve: 13 Games including:
- Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots; Saturday, Dec. 24 CBS (regional game)
- New York Giants @ New York Jets; Saturday, Dec. 24 FOX (regional game)
- Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys; Saturday, Dec. 24 FOX (regional game)
- Christmas Day: Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears; Sunday, Dec. 25 NBC
Click here to view the full schedule.