NFL having trouble scheduling season opener in Baltimore because of Orioles conflict [updated]

March 18, 2013

Joe Flacco and the Ravens are supposed to host the NFL season-opening game Sept. 5 (Associated Press)

Updated: 6:30 p.m.: According to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL has offered to play the Ravens game later than usual Thursday night and hopes the Orioles game can be played that afternoon.

“We think that’s the right thing,” Goodell said. “We’ve agreed to move that game a little bit later in the evening to try to accommodate the baseball game. But we think it would be a great day…. We hope that’s the way it’ll happen.”

Goodell said the league could have the Ravens play the season opener on the road but hopes to avoid that.  “We think that’s wrong for the Ravens fans,” he said. “We do not want that to happen. So that’s why we’re trying to reach an accommodation.”

He said playing the opener on Sept. 4 has been ruled out because of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

 

The NFL is having trouble scheduling its planned season-opening game in Baltimore because of a conflict with an already scheduled baseball home game for the Baltimore Orioles.

The Ravens, as the defending Super Bowl champions, are in line to host the NFL season opener on a Thursday night, Sept. 5. But the Orioles have a home game scheduled that night against the Chicago White Sox and, with the two stadiums adjacent to one another, the two games cannot be played simultaneously.

A person familiar with the situation said Monday that the parties are “trying to work it out” but NFL officials “have not been able to schedule the Ravens at home on Thursday night yet.”

The league apparently has ruled out moving the game to Wednesday night because of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. The chairman of the NFL’s competition committee, Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay, said during a conference call with reporters last Thursday that the league was leaving open the possibility of playing the opener on Wednesday night for the second year in a row. But a person familiar with deliberations said last Friday that a Wednesday night opener had been ruled out.

The NFL played last season’s opener, hosted by the New York Giants, on a Wednesday night, moving it a day earlier to avoid a conflict with President Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

The defending Super Bowl champion traditionally hosts the season-opening game on the Thursday night before the season’s first Sunday of games.

The Baltimore Sun, which first reported the issue, said the league would like to avoid having the Ravens open the season on the road but termed that a possibility. According to the Sun, the Ravens have made proposals and commissioners Roger Goodell of the NFL and Bud Selig of Major League Baseball have gotten involved, without a resolution.

A possible solution apparently under consideration is having the Orioles play an afternoon game Sept. 5, followed by the Ravens game at night. But it’s not clear whether that’s acceptable to the Orioles, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.

The Orioles and Ravens share a majority of their parking lots.

Ravens President Dick Cass declined to comment as he left Goodell’s opening address at the league meeting.

Goodell is scheduled to speak to reporters later Monday here at the annual league meeting in Phoenix. The league often announces the season-opening game at the meeting, but it’s not clear whether that will happen this week because of the conflict. The Ravens’ opponent has not been announced yet.

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Sports
Stats, scores and schedules
Next Story
Mark Maske · March 17, 2013