With Super Bowl XLVIII in the books, the 2012 season goes into the rear view mirror and we can officially set our sights on the 2013 season. A lot must happen between now and September for NFL teams to be ready for next season – the Combine, the 2013 NFL Draft, minicamps, Organized Team Activities, training camp, the preseason, and final roster cuts, just to name a few.
Another offseason agenda item that must occur before the 2013 season can begin is the schedule release. The NFL typically releases its schedule closer to the draft, but we have reason to speculate right now about an important part of the 2013 schedule – Opening Night.
The NFL has a custom of the defending Super Bowl champion hosting a game to open the season on the Thursday before the weekend that the rest of the NFL opens its schedule. Last year it was the NY Giants hosting the Dallas Cowboys (their game was played on a Wednesday to accommodate a scheduling conflict). In 2011 it was Green Bay hosting the New Orleans Saints. And in 2010 the Vikings played at New Orleans to kickoff the regular season. This year the Baltimore Ravens will host a game the Thursday before the start of the regular season (September 5), assuming the NFL maintains its custom.
The reason this is relevant to the Vikings is because the NFL’s scheduling formula has the Vikings playing at Baltimore this year. Will the NFL choose the Vikings out of Baltimore’s 8 road opponents to help the Ravens kickoff the 2013 regular season? Only time will tell, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the reigning MVP on the roster. The other 7 options the NFL has to choose from are: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Green Bay, Houston, New England, New York (Jets), and Pittsburgh.
There are several good options in that group. Opening Night is a great time to renew the fierce Ravens-Steelers rivalry. Green Bay and New England have great appeal because of their QBs. And Houston wouldn’t be a bad choice, either. Unfortunately, as Chris Wesseling of NFL.com notes, the NFL has scheduled an AFC vs. NFC matchup just once since 2004 for the season-kickoff game. But maybe that means we’re due for another one. And why not pit the defending Super Bowl champions against the reigning MVP?
As a fan, how would you feel about the Vikings being chosen to play the Ravens to kickoff the 2013 regular season?
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 86 Comments »