A July 26 Sports article incorrectly indicated that the Washington Nationals' final homestand of the season would be Sept. 23-25 against the New York Mets. The Nationals end the regular season at home against the Philadelphia Phillies the following weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2. (Published 7/27/2005)
It appears Tiger Woods helped decide when the Washington Redskins will have their bye week this season.
NFL officials would say only that they were aware that the last day of the Presidents' Cup, which will feature the world's top golfers, will be played Sept. 25 in Prince William County when they decided to give the Redskins the earliest bye week in their history.
But another source said PGA officials asked the NFL to leave the schedule open locally, and the league obliged by giving the Baltimore Ravens and the Redskins the weekend off.
NFL spokesman Mike Signora and other NFL officials said it is not unusual for the NFL to take outside factors, such as competing sporting events, into consideration when it draws up the schedule.
"We definitely make a conscious effort to be aware of the major local events taking place in NFL markets, and, if need be, to schedule our games accordingly," Signora said. "And in this case, we were certainly aware of the PGA event taking place in Virginia."
The event, which will be held at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, is expected to pit Woods, Phil Mickelson and 10 other top U.S. golfers against an international squad expected to be led by Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen. The tournament, which will attract thousands of fans, also will be held on the same weekend as the Washington Nationals' final homestand at RFK Stadium, against the New York Mets.
NFL schedule makers in April designated Sept. 25 as the Redskins' bye week, the earliest the team will be off since the bye-week system began in 1990. The Detroit Lions and Houston Texans also will be off that weekend.
Bye weeks continue through Week 10 of the NFL season, and there is no set formula for determining them, Signora said. Requests from teams are taken into consideration, and there is a computer and human element involved in finalizing the schedule. In the past, most teams within a division would share the same bye week, but that changed when the NFL realigned for the 2002 season. There are no restrictions on teams having bye weeks early or late in consecutive seasons, Signora said.
Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs expressed displeasure with the early bye when the schedule was released. "I think it's a tough deal," Gibbs said in April. "My preference would have been [to have the bye] maybe later, but, hey, it might also work out great for us."
Teams generally prefer to have the bye week fall as late as possible to provide players extra time to rest and heal further along in the grueling 16-game season.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder declined to comment on the matter through a spokesman.
League sources said it is not uncommon for team owners or executives to request a road game or a bye week to avoid overlapping with other major events. The Baltimore Orioles also have a homestand scheduled that weekend against the Boston Red Sox. Because of the proximity of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens and Orioles do not play at home on the same day.
Redskins Notes: With less than a week left until the start of training camp, the Redskins have yet to sign their top three draft picks. Washington is nearing a deal with fullback Manuel White, its fourth-round pick, but talks with first-round selections Carlos Rogers, a cornerback taken ninth overall, and Jason Campbell, a quarterback taken 25th overall, are not as far along, sources said. The Redskins report for training camp Sunday and begin practice Monday.