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The 2011 NFL Schedule: Making Lemonade From Lemons

This week, the NFL released the 2011 schedule to much publicity, hype, ballyhoo, kerfluffle, bells, whistles, and fanfare.

Here, here, and here is some of CSC's Saints-related coverage of this topic.

Taking a broader and wider look at this issue, a few stories have popped up that discuss the various steps the league took in creating this schedule in order to give it some flexibility and a range of options to salvage all, most, or some of the 2011 season, should the labor dispute continue in to the late summer.

In reading these stories, they each seemed to have some different and/or new information, so I thought it'd be useful to CSCers and NFL fans to compile all these elements into one central piece.

Make the jump to see it.

My source material for this includes's AP story,'s story (featuring an Adam Schefter video), and Mike Triplett's bit from

Here we go with the Shoney's Breakfast Bar Buffet of ways the 2011 season could be adjusted to allow for maximum game-playing if a settlement is reached in the 11th hour (in no particular order)...

Option One: Tinker With The Postseason

Eliminating the bye week prior to the 2012 Super Bowl would allow the season to be compacted without losing games.

And for the 2011 postseason, there's even an extra contingency that the NFL built into the deal with Indianapolis and Lucas Oil Field - moving the Super Bowl back a week. Apparently, just in case the owners/players had approved an 18-game season (remember all that discussion?), the league included an agreement with the stadium to allow for the Super Bowl to be played on February 12 instead of the 5th.

So, right there you have two weeks that can be pulled from the schedule - BAM! BOOM! Done.

Option Two: Eliminate The Bye Weeks

Get this - all of the games scheduled for Week 3 happen to be games matching up teams that share bye weeks later in the season. This means that all the games scheduled for Week 3 could simply be postponed and played during the teams' future bye weeks.

For us, here's how it would look. The Saints play the Houston Texans in Week 3 (September 25/26), but since both teams are scheduled for their byes in Week 11 (the week of November 20), the September 25 game could just be played on November 20 instead.

Option Three: Drop Some Non-Divisional Games From The Schedule

Weeks 2 and 4 of the 2011 NFL schedule consist of non-divisional games, and if need be, could be dropped with less impact on the playoff races than dropping a week of games that might be crucial divisional games for some.

Option Four: Cut Some Chumpy Preseason Games

We've had much discussion about the merit of four preseason games, so it would seem to be pretty easy to cut one or two of these games and still be able to assess the training camp talent and make decent personnel decisions.

* * *

Now, those are the options as I see them. Can you think of any others?

Have I misinterpreted possibilities or neglected to account for other hidden impacts?

What do you think of the NFL building this into the schedule - is it crazy like a fox, or just plain crazy?

Does it stink of conspiracy/collusion somehow?

Do you even care?

Do you wish there was a poll with a burger option?

Let's hash it out and see where we stand...