The NFL has created a cool tradition by having the defending Super Bowl champion host a Thursday night prime-time game to kick off the season on an annual basis.
Last year, the New York Giants had to move their opening game up one night to Wednesday because Barack Obama was speaking at the Democratic National Convention.
This year, a less significant event is causing problems. The game might not be able to go on Thursday because the Baltimore Orioles are scheduled to host the Chicago White Sox at 7:05 p.m. ET on that very night. The two Baltimore teams don't share a stadium, but they do share parking lots. And while the O's are on the road the night prior, the first night of Rosh Hashanah is preventing the league from making the same move it made last September. Friday night is out of the question from a viewership standpoint, which is why the only remaining option might be to send the Ravens on the road for their opener.
"Unfortunately, the only option is to take the Ravens on the road," commissioner Roger Goodell said from the owners meetings in Phoenix Monday. "We think that is wrong for the Ravens’ fans. We would not want that to happen. That is why we are trying to reach an accommodation here. We are working on the schedule. We are working on parallel tracks for a couple more weeks. Clearly, we are getting to a point where we have to make that decision."
Goodell said he's spoken to MLB commissioner Bud Selig about making the Orioles-White Sox game a matinee, but that the two sides are still "trying to work out an accommodation" in that regard.
"We have agreed to move the game a little bit later in the evening to try to accommodate the baseball game," he said.
But those stubborn baseball people might put up a fight.
"It doesn’t just involve the Orioles. There is another team,” Katy Feeney, MLB’s senior vice president for club relations and scheduling, told the Baltimore Sun. “I think mainly, from a baseball standpoint, to make that change is extremely difficult.”
Extremely difficult? Both teams play the night prior but let's not pretend this would be some sort of tremendous sacrifice. If doubleheaders happen, so can this.
Frankly, though, I can understand why Major League Baseball wouldn't be jumping to help its biggest competitor. Time and again the NFL has overshadowed MLB events with big-time matchups that have been conveniently placed on the same night. Baseball won't likely budge unless it has to.