No fumble from the NFL this time

September 12, 2008 | Drew Forrester

A crazy week of weather watching came to a conclusion yesterday when the NFL announced that Sunday’s Ravens/Texans game would be moved to Monday night in Houston.

The NFL made the right call.

First, aside from their main priority of assuring the safety and health of the players and their families in Houston, the NFL’s #1 priority in the Hurricane Ike saga is to maintain the integrity of the season for both the Texans and the NFL.

The ONLY way to completely maintain that integrity is to make sure Houston plays eight games at home like the rest of the NFL.

Anything less than eight home games for the Texans wouldn’t be fair to them or to the teams (in this case the AFC North) that are in the division of the Texans’ opponent (Baltimore) who wouldn’t have to play in Houston as scheduled.

The NFL is taking the best approach to maintain the integrity of the league.

Now, there is certainly a chance Ike could wind up damaging the Houston area to the extent that it’s impossible to play in Houston on Monday.

The NFL has all day Saturday to watch the weather and evaluate the conditions in Houston.

By moving the game to Monday, they’ve given themselves an extra day to make a decision on where to play in the event Houston isn’t an option.

They can still go to Dallas on Monday if need be.  The Cowboys/Eagles game is set for Monday night.  Could the Ravens/Texans play in Dallas Stadium before that game…a doubleheader of sorts?  Perhaps.  It’s never been done before, but then again, a major hurricane requires “outside the box” thinking when it comes to dealing with the aftermath.  A variety of stadiums in the NFL would be available on Monday if the NFL wanted to move the game; Atlanta, New Orleans, Indianapolis, etc.

Moving the game to a neutral site, though, means the Texans don’t get eight home games.  That’s the worst option for the NFL.

Another option which could be utilized probably wouldn’t go over well in Baltimore, but the Ravens, Bengals and Texans could do a week 8-week 10 bye-week switch and the Texans could play their home games via this method:  Right now, the Bengals and Texans are off in week #8.  The Ravens are off in week #10.  Ironically, in week #10, the Bengals and Texans are due to play one another.  The NFL could – in order to maintain the integrity of the 8-home, 8-away format, move the Ravens-Texans game to week #10 and move the Bengals-Texans game to week #8.  That would mean Houston loses their bye week (8) and the Ravens lose their bye week (10) and the Bengals go from having a bye in week #8 to week #10.

That’s not a great scenario, of course, especially for the Ravens and Texans who would lose a bye week, but that scenario would preserve the integrity of the schedule for Houston, which, as I’ve said, is probably the #1 priority for the NFL.

It’s not been an easy few days for the NFL, but they’ve handled this decision well.

A few years ago, the league fumbled the ball by giving the Giants an extra home game against the Saints when Hurricane Katrina invaded New Orleans.

This time around, though, the NFL is holding on to the ball.  Firmly.