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Ravens' Season Opener In Doubt

Posted Mar 18, 2013

The NFL wants an Orioles-Ravens doubleheader, but the Ravens may have to hit the road.


The Ravens and Orioles have not been able to resolve a scheduling conflict that could force the Ravens onto the road for their Thursday Night Football season-opening game.

There is a 10-year tradition that the Super Bowl-winning team opens at home on Thursday night. That’s a desirable game for the champions because it’s a celebration of their Super Bowl season and allows for longer rest before their Week 2 game.

However, the opener would be scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 5. On that same night, the Baltimore Orioles are scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox at 7:05 p.m.

That’s a problem considering the Orioles play next door to M&T Bank Stadium and the two share parking lots.

The NFL was originally slated to announce the Ravens’ season-opening game Monday at the NFL owners meetings, but the stalemate with the Orioles has put that on hold and commanded the attention of those at the very top – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.

Goodell has talked to Selig twice about the issue, but is still trying to work out a “combination.” Goodell has pitched moving the Orioles’ game to earlier in the day, and in turn, move the usual Thursday Night Football kickoff back, creating a day-night doubleheader.

The Orioles may not want to budge in part because they are flying back from a night game in Cleveland on Wednesday and presumably want as much rest as possible. 

“As a little kid who grew up as an Orioles fan, to have the Orioles game in the afternoon and then go to the Ravens Super Bowl championship celebration for the kickoff game would be a great day,” Goodell said. “We hope that’s the way it will happen.”

And if it doesn’t?

Goodell and Ravens Team President Dick Cass said moving the Ravens game to Wednesday is not up for consideration because that’s the first day of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah.

“Unfortunately the only option is to take the Ravens on the road,” Goodell said. “We think that’s wrong for the Ravens fans, so we would not want that to happen.”

The Ravens' 2013 road games are at Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Buffalo, Chicago, Miami, Denver and Detroit. They would have to move their Super Bowl celebration away from their hometown fans.

Cass indicated that the Ravens have tried to financially compensate the Orioles for moving, but have been unsuccessful so far.

“We have had discussions with representatives of the Orioles and we have offered to make them financially whole,” Cass said. “We’ve left it there. Now the commissioner is trying to see if he can find a solution.”

Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti said he expects that the Ravens will be able to work it out with Major League Baseball and the Orioles because he’s “an optimist by nature.” He said he knows everybody is engaged.

“They have some competitive reasons why they may not do it, but I think there’s an opportunity here for Major League Baseball and the NFL, who have to get along and accommodate each other at times,” Bisciotti said.

“So to me it’s more of a big-picture thing than it is our issue. I would hope that the NFL has built up enough goodwill to make Major Baseball see that if they inconvenience themselves a little bit that we, the NFL and specifically the Ravens, owe the Orioles and Major League Baseball a favor in the future.”

The NFL will release the 2013 schedule days before the NFL draft, which is slated for April 25. Goodell said that "clearly, we're getting to a point where we have to make that decision."

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