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Potential new NFL calendar floated

Posted by Darren Urban on February 22, 2013 – 7:48 am

The NFL is reportedly talking about changing the offseason calendar, which is an interesting concept, to say the least. The theory goes that the Scouting combine would be moved from February to March, free agency from March to April and the draft from April to May. The idea, according to ESPN, is to make the league more relevant through the calendar year. There has been more and more talk about the regional combines and the role they could play going into the main combine, which would be helped by a shift in timing.

How could that play out? The collective bargaining agreement is pretty set in stone for timing, and organizing a new offseason schedule that would fit with the new dates wouldn’t be a simple process (the NFL Players Association would have to sign off on any new timeline.) The hardest part to fathom is how the players would get a chunk of time off before training camp (which, in the plan, would begin on the same day for every team — again, making for an change for the teams playing in the Hall of Fame game, since they have always started earlier.)

Yesterday, Bruce Arians was lamenting how long he has to wait to talk football with his players and I’d assume moving the calendar back would delay that even more, since you need free agency at least to be underway you can get the offseason program started. Let the debate begin.


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Posted in Blog | 15 Comments »


15 Responses to “Potential new NFL calendar floated”

  1. By andystandsup on Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    You would still have that “dead period” from the last OTA in June ’til the opening of training camps in late July.

  2. By Darren Urban on Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    AndyStands –

    RE: Dead period

    But if you back up the calendar, that last OTA or minicamp might not be until July.

  3. By Patrick Eagan on Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    i really don’t like all the changes that godell has made.

  4. By luke on Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    Me and my friends absolutely hate the big time gaps between Combine and actual draft day. And then another gap until the actual pr season. Fans are going to be very mad when they fine out they have to wait even longer now.

  5. By D on Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    This is just filler, won’t happen.

  6. By erik on Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    Off topic here, but IO really enjoyed the Steve Keim interview you did, Darren. He comes off as a likeable, hard working guy. You asked him some really good questions and follow-ups and I thought he answered them in a totally honest way. Not the typical sports interview where people say the same boring cliches over and over. Well done!

  7. By Mike G on Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is good! I hope the NFL stops tinkering with the rules and the game. One of my concerns as a fan is the the NFL feels it needs to make a change just for the sake of making one. One of the things that makes the NFL different from the other sports is that it is a weekly affair and the off-season should be quiet. The waiting and dead period create a hunger and a passion as the season draws near. I know the bottom line is all about the $$$$ but tradition and the past has made the NFL what it is today. These changes really upset hardcore fans. I really think these Thursday games are a bad move and is an example of greed. Over-saturation and greed will eventually hurt this game!!!! Darren–Do you think the NFL will have an 18 game schedule within 3 years ??? and if so do you think the 53 man roster would have to change??

  8. By Darren Urban on Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    Mike G –

    RE: 18 games

    I don’t know if they will get to 18. I am of the opinion I’d rather not see that.

  9. By jeffgollin on Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    I hate the idea of a May draft. Too much dead time during Jan, Feb, March and now April. If anything, I’s like to see the draft moved to March or Feb. As it is, there’s too much time for overanalysis.

  10. By Kevin S on Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    Mike G —

    Thursday night football is definitely about more money for the league. But, then again, a lot of people thought Monday night football was a bad idea back in the day. Then it became the “game of the week,” before ESPN came along and started the Sunday night game… and then NBC and ESPN flip-flopped the two when the NFL decided that the Sunday night game was really the marquee game. Regardless, I hardly think one Thursday night game a week is going to lead to “oversaturation.” Due to more entertainment options available to the general public (NBC was just surpassed by Univision in the February sweeps, and the TV audience continues to be more and more diluted across a broader array of channels), sports are becoming an increasingly niche programming option catering to the fan who can’t get enough, as opposed to a programming option for the general audience (with the exception of the Super Bowl which is “event” programming with the commercials and halftime show). Thursday night football makes perfect sense to reach those rabid fans with another game they otherwise wouldn’t see. The NFL certainly seems to have gotten it right with playing the vast majority of their games on Sunday and making it basically an all-day event for people, but even then, you only get to see at most three full games, only 6 of the teams playing that week. 8 if you throw in MNF.

  11. By cobra on Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    I believe the current schedule works well. If it begins later, players may not be in as good of shape. If earlier, it may not be enough time for some players to heal from minor injures before the combines.

  12. By clssylssy on Feb 23, 2013 | Reply

    As I understand it, these changes will have to be approved by the Players Association and since the reall goal of the changes is to make way for the 18 game season and create more revanue for the league and franchise owners, I don’t see this happening. Roger Goodell already made 30 million dollars last year and while he “talks” a lot about player safety his actions in pursuing the 18 game season would prove otherwise. The current schedule has worked for many years and there’s a reason why we have the 4 game preseason. These games are realtime game scrimmages and try-outs and not exhibition games. The only two real “exhibition games” are the Hall of Fame Game and the Probowl Game which I consider the appetizer and dessert of the regular season. If the league feels it has to make a change perhaps they should change the rule that prohibits teams from talking to the players till April. This was a change coming out of the CBA which seems to be a frivolous consession that serves nobody really and was just part of the smoke and mirrors of that entire negotiation. The NFL needs to LEAVE THE GAME ALONE, don’t mess with the fundamentals including the schedule. I think one of the dumbest things the league is doing is the push to add games outside of the United States to the regular season that make it prohibitively expensive for US fans to attend while American Football is not even that popular in Europe and Canada. It seems that all the league is concerned about is making money but meantime game tickets are priced too high for the regular blue collar fan to afford. Most people are lucky if they can take a family of four to one game a year when you consider not only the cost of the tickets, parking and then add in the overpriced concession and trip to the proshop!

  13. By Evan on Feb 23, 2013 | Reply

    The NFL has already done a good job of promoting off-season events like the combine and the draft, along with access to NFL news via their tv and subscription radio networks. What they should be doing instead is promoting a 17 game schedule with a preseason of 3 games. Everyone thinks the preseason os too long anyway, and by reducing it by one, adding just a single regular season game isn’t a stretch. Plus, the addition can be utilized for neutral site games both in the States and elsewhere to further develop the NFL. Sound good, Darren? =]

  1. 2 Trackback(s)

  2. Feb 22, 2013: NFL says proposed calendar change is unrelated to 18-game season – NBCSports.com | NFLGame.Net
  3. May 20, 2013: Word From the Birds Blog | Moving the draft later

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