O’s, A’s and the NFL


I’m not sure why I’m bringing up the whole Baltimore Orioles vs. the NFL debate again. Probably because I can, and because sometimes it’s tough to find things about which to write in the off season! That aside, I’m not going to rehash everything that went on in that situation, because it’s over and done with. However, I did raise an eyebrow on Monday night when I heard that the NFL had moved tomorrow’s game between the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders to Sunday night – at 11:30 PM (eastern time) to be exact. Why you might ask? Because of the MLB playoffs.

Oakland is the last stadium in either football or baseball that still houses both sports. The A’s are scheduled to host an ALDS game on Saturday night against the Detroit Tigers. However the Oakland Raiders had already scheduled a game on Sunday afternoon (at 1:30 PM local time) against the San Diego Chargers. So the NFL has “graciously” moved the game to 8:30 PM local time, meaning that it’s set to kickoff at 11:30 PM here on the east coast. The game will also be nationally televised on NFL Network, albeit using the normal CBS announcers.

Keep in mind that I have no idea what the terms of the lease are between the Athletics, Raiders, and the city of Oakland. I suspect that there has to be a clause whereby a postseason game would take precedence over anything else, or something to that effect. However one way or the other, the NFL appeared to have no outward issue in moving the game to a different time. I suspect that they probably aren’t happy they had to do it, however it was something that was done without much conversation or fuss. (For the record, the games are on different days however they moved the kickoff to that night due to the fact that the stadium crews will need all of that time to convert the diamond into a football field.)

Courtesy of USA Today

I suppose my point is that Roger Goodell and the NFL seemed to make a fairly swift decision in altering the time of their game in this case, and furthermore they didn’t outwardly appear to “bully” the MLB team involved. (Again, I’m assuming that there’s some sort of clause in the teams’ leases which states that either the A’s or perhaps a post season game in and of itself takes precedence over anything else.) The same can’t be said for how the fiasco was handled in the situation for September 6th when the NFL wanted the Ravens to open the season at home and the Orioles already had a game scheduled.

If my presumption about the lease at the Oakland stadium is true, then it sounds just as ironclad as the leases that the Ravens and Orioles have in their respective facilities. Yet again, Roger Goodell seemed to have no issue very publically putting pressure on and demonizing the Orioles when he wasn’t getting his way. If you’re keeping score at home, the Orioles (and owner Peter Angelos) won that battle. But did they win the public relations war? I applauded their silence on the matter because I felt this was something that should be kept behind closed doors. However in keeping silent, did Angelos (or his representation) inadvertently spin themselves from victims into aggressors? Possibly…the NFL has a long PR wing, and furthermore people tend to believe what they say.

However the point here is that it’s awful funny that there was no drawn out argument through the media regarding the Oakland situation, which was somewhat similar to the case in Baltimore. (In actuality, it was almost the reverse situation, and in both cases the NFL blinked.) What say you, commissioner Goodell?