When I heard that the NFL was announcing the 2013 schedule via a 3 hour live event on the NFL Network, with ESPN following suit in 2 hour SportsCenter Special style, I thought it was a little over the top. I mean, does any other sport require multiple prime time programs to release a schedule?
And then…I watched them both.
My name is Beka and I can’t not watch NFL programming. The prospect of the regular season is just too exciting!
Ok, so, what did we learn?
– In today’s NFL, the Super Bowl champion always opens the season on Thursday night at home. But not this year. In what was very similar to a businessman cat fight, the Baltimore Orioles, who are also scheduled to play at home on September 5th, refused to accomodate the Ravens so that both teams could somehow play. The solution wasn’t bad, though. The Ravens will be headed back to Denver for a rematch of the game that solidified their Super Bowl run. Touchdown off a bad pass, NFL. Way to go.
– The 2013 Super Bowl Champion will be the Chargers, apparently. For the past four years, the team that played against the Eagles in their home opener went on to win the Super Bowl: Saints, Packers, Giants, Ravens. (Although it might be fair to say that it would be a stretch for history to repeat itself this year.)
– The Manning Bowl is Week 2 (Broncos at Giants), and that’s a blessing on all accounts. Less time to wait for it, less time to hype about it.
– Peyton returns to Indy for the first time since his departure in Week 7. I’m putting this in the Good column because it’s emotionally charged, but really, this is going to be a rough one to watch. You certainly can’t envy Peyton under those circumstances.
– Denver at New England in Week 12 offers two must-watch components: first, the return of Welker to New England, and second, the ever-dwindling clash of the Titans, Brady and Manning.
– Week 17. All of it. Putting divisional games in the last week of the schedule was one of the best moves the NFL has ever made, I think.
– The entire first half of the Monday Night Football schedule is fairly regrettable. The opener, Eagles at Redskins, has the potential to be great later in the season, but with the Eagles taking their very first Kelly-style track meet to the field and with RG3’s status yet unknown, it might not be all it could be. Then MNF goes into a 6-8 week spiral of mediocre games (with Steelers at Bengals and Vikings at Rams being on the higher end of that spectrum) until the legendary matchup between the Bears and the Packers arrives in Week 9…and then it plummets again for a few weeks until Niners at Redskins and Saints at Seahawks. You never can tell how good the games will be until we’re in the thick of the season (who would have expected the NFC West to be a must-watch division last year?), but on it’s face, Monday Night Football could use a little Botox.
– Any game in London is bad news from my perspective. I like it when the National Football League is still in our Nation. (No offense, England. We love you for entirely different reasons, Downton Abbey among them, but wouldn’t you feel weird if Manchester came over for a match across the pond? It’s just odd.)
– The NFL must be imposing unknown bounty sanctions against Miami, because holy cow their schedule is a steep climb up a tall mountain. Before the bye: Browns (the warm up), then Colts, Falcons, Saints, Ravens. Get ready to hit the ground running, free agents!
– Raiders at Cowboys…on Thanksgiving. NFL, aren’t you thankful for your fans? Why are you doing this to us on a high holy day of the regular season?
And that’s that! Too see the full NFL schedule (on a really well designed interface), you can check it out here.
I’m sure I missed a few good points because I’m too inordinately excited to properly communicate, so help me fill them in: What do you guys think of the 2013 schedule? Any highlights or lowlights?