NFL Flexing Muscles, MLB Should Not Give In

Posted Tuesday March 19, 2013 at 6:39:20 pm in Real Sports

The NFL and Roger Goodell are pushing their agenda. Hard. And in that process they are flexing their muscles and doing everything possible to run a smear campaign against MLB and the Orioles.

It is all the talk on sports radio and fans' mouths in Baltimore: Peter Angelos is at fault, the Ravens should be playing at home on Thursday, and the Baltimore Orioles are to blame.

But that's not the case. Ravens fans are currently looking through purple coloured  glasses and drinking the Roger Goodell Kool-Aid. After all, their beloved Ravens just won the Super Bowl and are entitled to open at home on Thursday Night Football. And for the past 15 years, the Orioles have went from being relevant to merely an afterthought for all but the most fervent of Orioles fans...until 2012, of course. That's when the Orioles went 93-69, won the Wild Card playoff game against the mighty Texas Rangers, and went down to the wire in 5 games against the Yankees in the ALDS.

So, why give the NFL and Goodell the benefit of the doubt? After all, the 2013 regular season master schedule was released on September 12, 2012. Read that again: September 12, 2012. Yes, the MLB schedule has been done for 6 months. It has taken into account everything from concerts, NFL games, shared MLB/NFL stadiums, supposed competitive balance, a new AL team (the Houston Astros), scheduling conflicts, and everything in between. So why should MLB bend over backwards to accommodate the NFL?

To fans outside of Baltimore, this should be a no-brainer: the NFL should just change the first day of the season to another day: Wednesday, the weekend, etc. This isn't uncommon whatsoever. In 2009, the Jets played at home on Rosh Hashanah and even on Yom Kippur (the NFL did move the time up on Yom Kippur after feedback, however). The NFL has played on Christmas day 7 times in the last 13 years. The most recent being the Bears and the Packers in 2011. The hub bub over playing the game on Wednesday appears to be coming from the NFL spin machine due to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah beginning on September 4th (and ending September 6th).

However, to fans in Baltimore (and fans of the Ravens as well as Orioles), the issue becomes a deeper one. You see, the NFL and Roger Goodell have done a wonderful job of pitting Ravens fans against the Orioles organization and even its fans. But what the NFL isn't doing is telling the truth. Or at the very least completely glossing over it.

You see, this isn't an Orioles only issue. This is a MLB players' union issue. This is a Chicago White Sox issue. This is a MLB issue. This is a Baltimore Orioles issue. Simply blaming the Orioles and Peter Angelos right from the get go is not only dishonest, it's downright ignorant. It's time for fervent Ravens to really see the light and stop immediately pointing fingers at the supposed Devil (Peter Angelos) and the Orioles. Instead, point the finger at the biggest gorilla in the room: the NFL.

This is nothing more than a smear campaign from the NFL and Roger Goodell to do as little as possible to keep the Thursday home game with the Ravens. They've done an effective job of pitting Ravens fans against the Orioles. But let's not pretend that having the NFL get what they want is the only option. Not by a long shot.

Last year, the first game of the NFL season with the Giants playing the Cowboys was pushed to avoid competition with Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention. As said above, in 2009 the Jets played on Rosh Hashanah. The NFL isn't very cognizant (or maybe sensitive) of Christian holidays like Christmas, as they've played 7 games over the last 13 years on Christmas. 

People, this is the easiest solution. Just play the game on Wednesday. Or make it a weekend gig. Or any other day, really. The NFL will sell the tickets, the game will be watched by all, and it won't affect relations between MLB and the NFL. 

This is merely the NFL flexing its muscles. It will get fixed. I anticipate the Ravens opening at home, but hopefully it won't be on Thursday. MLB should not give in to the NFL, especially not their PR machine. After all, it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.

Let's just not point the finger at the Orioles or even Peter Angelos. Noone knows the full story behind closed doors. But the problem here is that people are quick to blame the Orioles and Peter Angelos without recognizing that this is an NFL, Roger Goodell, Bud Selig, MLB, MLBPA, Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Orioles issue.

 ***UPDATE***

Upon further inspection, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated from sunset on September 4th (Wednesday) to nightfall on September 6th (Friday). If this is the case, by playing on Thursday, the NFL is being insensitive to the Jewish population. Apparently the only issue the NFL has is if the game is moved to Wednesday since it's the first night of Rosh Hashanah. In light of this, it seems even more so that the NFL is spinning a weave of misinformation and smear to detract blame from itself and to keep the game on that Thursday.

The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer’s view