Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 NFL Schedule; Don't Expect 9/11 Patriotism to End Lockout

The NFL announced it's 2011 schedule last night and the first Sunday games of the season will be on September 11--ten years to the day after the 9/11 tragedies.  The NFL is already planning to honor and commemorate the dead and their survivors even if the league isn't even close to snapping a ball due to the lockout.

Optimistic fans may see a silver lining because the planned 9/11 memorial ceremonies may hasten an agreement between the NFL owners and the NFLPA due to deep rooted patriotism.  Realists know the two parties will still only be trying to line their pockets with gold.

A lot of talking heads on sports TV shows this morning brought up the fact that the NFL is adamant about paying tribute to America for that horrible day and that the stadiums will be filled up all the NFL glitz it can muster to honor those who paid the price.

On Mike & Mike, both Mikes said the NFL "highlighted" the date on it's schedule press release and claimed the owners and players would, at the least, be shamed into settling the lockout because of all the bad publicity it would generate if they didn't put their differences aside.  The public outcry alone should bring both sides to their knees.

Don't count on it.  Here in New York--one of the three terrorist attack sites--it took almost eight years to break ground to start rebuilding at Ground Zero, because of political differences, and there is a ongoing stalemate regarding compensation to injured first-responders and their families.  The Ground Zero Memorial was bound in red tape for years and that's here in New York.

It's hard to believe millionaires squabbling about their benefits, salaries and all the other issues involved in the billion-dollar negotiations would let 9/11 influence their decisions.

The NFL ceremonies will include everything we in New York have become all to familiar with over the past nine years.  There will be somber speeches and moments of silence.  Photos of lost loved ones and praises for the heroics that followed the attacks.

The biggest ceremonies will probably be reserved for the New York Jets opening game against "America's Team" the Dallas Cowboys at New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey on national TV that night. 

The NFL will probably be going all out that night.  Expect all the usual pomp and hanger-on politicians for this prime-time tribute.  The sight of former-mayor Rudy Giuliani, families of the slain and first responders will bring the fans and viewing millions to tears. 

The New York Giants game vs. the Washington Redskins at  4:15 ET in Landover, Md.--not far from one of the other terrorist hits at the Pentagon--should provide an emotional group hug, as well.

There was speculation the league would make the Giants-Jets game the season opener to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  Now, the battle for the city will take place on Christmas day.  It is only fitting that Washington gets their moment though.  It's 9/11 tragedy seems to already be a faint memory here in New York.

It's delusional to think that either the owners or players would cave in for just a minute of silence before the opening kick-off.  The world is already filled with war and natural disasters.

How many fans paid tribute to 9/11 last September?  In New York, you are lucky to get a few thousand spectators at the Memorial Day Parade--and most of them are tourists crowding the Fifth Avenue stores.  Sadly, the marching soldiers usually outnumber the supporters.

Don't be seduced by any hype from the NFL, owners or union reps.  If the lockout ends and the opening ceremonies move you.  Fine.  Just don't let the NFL or NFLPA pat itself on it's back for overcoming the labor dispute in the guise of a 9/11 commemoration.

You don't need a football game to honor the lost lives and heroes or remember the horrible events of 9/11 next September.

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