Conventional wisdom of late has been that the NFL would kickoff its 2010 schedule on Thursday, September 9 by having the Vikings travel to New Orleans for a NFC Championship Game rematch against the Saints. The NFL traditionally pits the defending Super Bowl champions against an intriguing opponent at home on the Thursday before the first Sunday of the regular season.
The idea of Vikings vs. Saints to begin the season is even more realistic when you consider the teams New Orleans will play at home this year – Atlanta, Carolina, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Seattle, Minnesota, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. With the NFL now emphasizing division matchups late in the season, let’s operate under the assumption that New Orleans won’t open up with a NFC South contest. That leaves the Vikings and Steelers as the 2 most intriguing options remaining. But when you consider Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger may be suspended to begin the season for violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, Pittsburgh becomes less intriguing.
So you can see why conventional wisdom says it’ll be Vikings vs. Saints to begin 2010. But as well all know, conventional wisdom is often wrong. Also, consider that while promoting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s live chat with fans later today league spokesman Brian McCarthy tweeted “Someone should ask him [Goodell] who the Saints open with.”
Maybe the NFL is going to surprise everyone and not have the opening game be Vikings-Saints.
There are 3 bits of information that I could come up with that would support that idea:
1: Over the past 2 years, teams that participated in the previous season’s conference championship game opened the following season at home 7 out of 8 times (with the Eagles at Carolina in 2009 being the only exception). The Vikings of course were in the NFC Championship Game last year.
2: Not that the NFL always considers this angle, but keep in mind that the Twins are on the road during the NFL’s opening weekend and then they play at home during Week 2 of the NFL season.
3: Maybe the NFL will indeed pit New Orleans against a division opponent – say Atlanta – to begin the season. Or, maybe they’ll have the St. Louis Rams, who will be sporting the #1 overall draft pick from the 2010 NFL Draft, travel to New Orleans to take on the defending Super Bowl champs.
Or maybe not. As hard as you try to make a case for the NFL scheduling something other than Vikings-Saints to begin the season, it just doesn’t add up. Should Favre return to the Vikings, there’s no other possible matchup that is as intriguing as Vikings-Saints to begin the season.
Maybe conventional wisdom will actually be right.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 10 Comments »