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

March 22, 2013 | Drew Forrester

Did the NFL go to NBC and try to work out a Wednesday night broadcast from Baltimore?  Well, at first, the NFL tried to pass off the Jewish Holiday obstacle on all of us, until we figured out that the league never seems to care if they play on Rosh Hashanah or any other holiday for that matter.


So, the next step was for the NFL to lean on their neatly crafted “a contract’s a contract” theory.

Forgive me if I’m not completely trusting of a Commissioner who four days ago told us they couldn’t play on Wednesday because of Rosh Hashanah…forgetting that Thursday, September 5 is also Rosh Hashanah.  I don’t buy the “we have a contract with NBC” thing for a minute.

I think they have a contract, of course.

I just don’t think it’s as non-negotiable as it would appear it might be.

After all, isn’t the NFL the biggest, baddest sports league in the world?  Of course they are.

Are you telling me Roger couldn’t call the stuffed suits at NBC and offer this reminder:  “Hey guys, remember last year when you wanted us to open in New York on Wednesday night instead of Thursday night?  We did it for you, because we are PARTNERS in this NFL/NBC thing.  We work together on stuff like that.  OK, well, we have a problem in Baltimore on September 5 and those people in Baltimore really, truly deserve this special night to be played in their stadium.  Can we move the game to Wednesday night?   Oh, by the way, I’ll throw in a free San Francisco/Seattle opener in San Francisco the very next night — THURSDAY night.  You can air the Wednesday opener in Baltimore and the the Thursday showdown between the two best NFC teams the very next night.  And the Thursday game is on us.  No charge.”

That wasn’t a plausible solution?

Sure, the NFL might lose some MONEY, but the country would be getting two games in 24 hours.  That’s a helluva way to start the season, isn’t it?  And NBC would make up for whatever shortfall the Wednesday broadcast brings, if any.

Did Goodell call the people at NBC with ANY kind of offer or resolution to the Thursday-in-Baltimore dilemma?

My guess is “no” — or he would have said that already.

Goodell just wanted the Orioles to cave in because that would have been best for HIM and his league.  Remember, last year it wasn’t BEST for the NFL to move the game to Wednesday, but Roger did it anyway when NBC needed it to be that way.

Well, this year, it might not be best for the NFL to move the game to Wednesday, but it’s clearly best for BALTIMORE.  But, when pressed into action and forced to stand up for Steve Bisciotti – one of the 32 people who employs him – Goodell chickened out and blamed the Orioles.

I’m so glad I didn’t buy this garbage on Monday when the NFL first leaked the story.

I knew and wrote from the very beginning that this was nothing more than yet another money grab by the NFL and the people at NBC.

All that talk about “rewarding the fans of Baltimore” was nothing more than that — just talk.  Once a few million dollars was at stake, the Commissioner caved in and suddenly decided it was Thursday-night-or-bust.

Always remember this:  Roger Goodell moved the 2013 season opening game out of Baltimore.

That’s a friggin’ fact.

Because he’s the CEO of the most powerful sports league in America, it should have been easy for Rog to just call NBC and say, “Hey, I need to call in a chip from last September when I helped you guys out with the opening game switch.”

But, he didn’t make that call.

He just let the Ravens and Orioles duke it out, splitting an already fractured fan base in the meantime.

Thanks for nothing, Mr. Commissioner.


8 Comments For This Post

  1. joe of bel air Says:

    Well said Drew.

  2. Vince Fiduccia Says:

    Thanks Drew for your fair and balanced reporting.

  3. unitastoberry Says:

    I don’t know why the NFL could have had us play on Sunday in Baltimore and some Brady vs Manning or league darling matchup on Thursday night? The Ravens are not well loved west of Frederick,north of Hanover PA,and south of Glen Burnie. Ratings for a league darling matchup on Thursday night would have been bigger for the network. Guess thats above my paygrade.

  4. The Armchair QB Says:

    Hypocrisy and greed – the NFL is guilty on both counts! Thanks for the “fair and balanced” reporting, Drew! It bears repeating that, “Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make drunk with power”! Unfortunately, the only losers in this fiasco are Baltimore and it’s fans; both deserve better from Goodell and his merry band of……bandits!

  5. Justafan Says:

    So, the Ravens will not play it’s home opener on Thursday, Sept 5. So What! The Ravens will still play 8 home games and 8 road games regardless of the day of the week. Personally, I am not a fan of Sunday, Monday, or Thursday night football. Football was meant to be played on Saturday afternoons for the colleges and Sunday afternoons for the Pro’s. I would not mind it at all if these “prime time” games were discontinued.

  6. PghSteve Says:

    Justafan, I agree 100% Those night games, which seem to always drag on until close to midnight, make the next day (usually a workday) a real challenge. It will never happen, but go back to Sundays only, maybe some Saturday games after the college season is over.

  7. charlie Says:

    great work, drew. i realize people here hate angelos — fair enough. but in all the love for the ravens (me included) have people forgotten how the nfl treated baltimore for 13 years? all of a sudden, the nfl is run by people who are caring, selfless, and simply want the best for charm city? tell it to paul tagliabue’s successor, i’m not buying.

  8. Jason Manelli Says:

    This sucks so hard for the Ravens fans, especially the season ticket holders who are coughing up their money at the moment to pay for the 2 stupid and useless preseason games and all of the other home contests that won’t include the special league opener. When you buy in and support the team through thick and thin, you expect that to the victor would go the spoils and that you’ll get the perk of attending a ‘victory party’ at the stadium in your seats.

    The NFL and Goodell should kick off the 2013 season with a pre-recorded Mea Culpa to the best football fans on the planet, the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland for their inability to schedule a home opener for the Super Bowl champs. Truly, this was Goodell’s ‘Go Build a Museum, Baltimore’ moment. This could have been solved so many ways, in my business things go wrong and conflict every day, and we find ways to adapt and make things work. You can’t tell me that all the geniuses at the league office put their thinking caps on and couldn’t make this work. We just weren’t important enough for Goodell to really try and solve this. If it were NY, Boston, or any other city with a larger MSA, this would never, ever go down this way. Face ti fellow fans, the League hates us because we are small and successful, and unlike Green Bay our city doesn’t have a lilly white image. Yes, racism played a role in this decision. A black GM, a black city and now a black out from the first home game.

    I also blame the Baltimore media (present company excluded) for not seeing through the NFL’s spin once this story leaked. Why didn’t the Sun or one of the local TV stations news departments think to look at the NFL schedule and compare it to the Baltimore O’s schedule to suss out a conflict prior to the league spinning its web of BS? I certainly didn’t think to check the schedules, but I’m not a full time beat writer like Aaron Wilson or Mike Preston.

    A pox on all houses. I hope we win another Super Bowl next season just to put it in the league’s eye. The artifice of ‘fair competition’ is now completely gone, revealing Goodell to be nothing more than the fairy godmother of the leagues all consuming need for maximum revenue.

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