With the NFL congregating in Arizona this week for its annual league meetings, troubling news surfaced Monday morning about the season-opening game presumed to be hosted in Baltimore this September.
As Super Bowl XLVII champions, the Ravens would be in line to host the first game of the 2013 season as has become the tradition in recent NFL seasons, but a scheduling conflict with the Orioles on Sept. 5 is putting that in jeopardy. With the Orioles scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox that night in the opener of a four-game series at Camden Yards, the Ravens have been unable to come to an agreement to move the time of that game and could be faced with the prospects of opening the season on the road.
Via their official Twitter account, the Ravens said a league source labeled Baltimore opening on the road as the “least desirable” possibility, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a Monday press conference that he’s spoken twice to MLB commissioner Bud Selig in attempts to resolve the issue. The league does not want to move the season-opening game to Wednesday, Sept. 4 due to the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
Goodell and the league is proposing that the Orioles play earlier in the day on Thursday and would move the start time for the Ravens to as late as 9 p.m. that evening in hopes of having a successful doubleheader for the city. The commissioner did not present any other day as being an option for the NFL’s season opener, confirming what many Ravens fans fear if a compromise cannot be reached.
“Unfortunately the only option is to take the Ravens on the road,” Goodell said. “We think that’s wrong for Ravens fans.”
Shifting the Orioles’ scheduled Thursday evening game with the White Sox to that afternoon would still create problems due to parking and the possibility of extra innings or a rain delay. The Orioles would also likely object to playing a day game on Thursday after traveling back to Baltimore from a game in Cleveland the previous night.
With the Orioles and White Sox scheduled for a four-game set that weekend, a day-night doubleheader on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday would also be a solution to open that Thursday night for the Ravens.
However, moving the time of the game by more than 30 minutes — let alone scheduling a doubleheader — is subject to approval by Major League Baseball, the players’ union, and the White Sox, according to The Sun.
Regardless of the circumstances or who’s ultimately to blame — there are compelling arguments for all parties involved — this situation needs to be worked out. The city of Baltimore deserves to be showcased in the NFL’s season-opening game, which has become a major event in recent years as a way to celebrate the previous season’s Super Bowl championship team.
Unfortunatley, this isn’t the first time in which the Ravens have found themselves in this kind of a position as the league elected not to schedule the Super Bowl XXXV champions with a Monday night game — the hoopla of the Thursday night opener hadn’t been created yet — to open the 2001 season even though the previous five Super Bowl winners had received the privilege.
In that case, there was no conflict with the Orioles, who were off on the night of Sept. 10, 2001, as the league chose to open the season in a matchup between the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants.