NFL’s Shrewd 9/11 Scheduling

Tuesday, 06 Sep 2011 09:31 AM

By Jon Friedman

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The NFL is trying to erase its bitter memory of Nov. 24, 1963.

Two days after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, the National Football League insisted on having its teams play the regularly scheduled slate of games.

The media weren’t nearly as powerful and conspicuous as they are in today’s 24/7 climate, but there were still strong criticisms of then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s controversial verdict.

The NFL has been trying to live down the decision ever since. Now it may get its chance at redemption.

By a stroke of luck, 9/11 falls on the first Sunday of the season. Look for the NFL to tap into the nation’s day of soul-searching and contemplation. The league will reaffirm its deep devotion to patriotism.

The NFL already took a wise step when it scheduled the Washington Redskins to host the New York Giants in a heartwarming battle of NFC East stalwarts and ancient rivals on the grid iron.

Meanwhile, another marquee game features the New York Jets hosting “America’s Team” (if America likes to identify so closely with a big loser), the Dallas Cowboys.

The NFL was shrewd to feature both New York teams in high-profile debuts, as New York City was hit so hard on 9/11. The NFL will surely get some of the rub-off effect of the tie-in to New York City.

The NFL wants to make amends, all these years later.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.






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