No video replay needed – Roger Goodell and NBC moved the season opener out of Baltimore today

March 22, 2013 | Drew Forrester

I love how everything turned on a dime sometime Friday afternoon when it was revealed the Orioles were willing to move their September 5th start time to help accomodate the Ravens’ home opener later that night.

All week long, people barked loud and long about how the baseball team had no business “blocking” the Ravens and the city of Baltimore from their rightful opening night celebration.

Today we learned the Orioles were willing to move their Thursday game time to help make the football opener a reality.  That it couldn’t be pulled off isn’t a shock.  Anyone who saw the nearly uncontrollable chaos that surrounded the Super Bowl parade on February 6th knows for sure trying to cram 300,000 or more people into downtown Baltimore just doesn’t work.

Having a downtown Baltimore “work day”, plus an afternoon baseball game, followed by a football game that night — no way that ends happily.

Today, though, we found out the truth.  Actually, I wrote the “truth” earlier this week and it turned out – gasp! – that I was right.

The Ravens are opening on the road on Thursday, September 5th for one reason:  Because the NFL and NBC refused to budge in their game of “we have to make as much money as we possibly can, even if it’s unfair to the Super Bowl Champion.”

So, that’s it.

The Ravens will travel somewhere, presumably Denver, for a season opening ass kicking that most likely will bring a wry smile from Roger Goodell.  He clearly never wanted Baltimore to have the opener at M&T Bank Stadium and with the help of NBC, he gets his wish.

Interestingly enough, not long after Goodell’s theme of “we don’t play on Rosh Hashanah” was debunked, the next “issue” was about TV ratings and NBC’s supposed (not confirmed by anyone, just assumed) wish to have the Thursday Night opener actually take place on Thursday night.

Last year, you’ll remember, NBC was so self-obligated to pushing the Thursday night opener on the country that they urged the NFL to move the game to WEDNESDAY night because of the Democratic National Convention.

That’s right — last year, because of “unique circumstances”, NBC was A-OK with moving the Thursday night game to Wednesday.  When it helped THEM, the fine folks at NBC were thrilled to air the opener on Wednesday.  The ratings for the Wednesday broadcast were down from the previous year’s Thursday night opener.  18 million folks watched the 2011 opener (Thursday) compared to 14 million in 2012.  So, they lost four million viewers for some reason…mostly due, it would appear, to NBC making the decision to move the game based on those special circumstances.

Now, though, when the NFL has a “unique circumstance”, someone – probably both the league and NBC – isn’t willing to give-in and move the 2013 Thursday opener to Wednesday.

And Baltimore loses out.

You’ll hear some people, who obviously aren’t paying attention very well, say or write stuff like this:  “What you have to understand is that the NFL is the biggest sports league in America.  If they want the game to be played on a Thursday, you either play it on Thursday or you lose out.”  Then, in the next sentence, they’ll say, “And they have a contract with NBC that says the opening game must take place on a Thursday night.  They’re not moving to Wednesday under any circumstance.”


Except when “any circumstance” is something NBC brings to the table.  Then the contract with the NFL is evidently flexible.

(Please see next page)