The 2010-11 NFL schedule will be released on Tuesday night, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made good on his promise to renew interest over the last weeks of the season and discourage teams from playing their reserves.
Goodell said in an interview with ESPN radio’s “Mike & Mike In The Morning” that the final week of the season will feature only division match ups within each conference, advocating competitiveness throughout the season’s duration.
“We actually have 28 divisional games in those last three weeks, as opposed to 15 for the 2009 season, and all 16 of the final Week 17 games will be divisional games,” Goodell remarked on “Mike & Mike in the Morning.”
“We’ll see what the impact is as we go through the next season, but we think that’s a positive development in keeping the integrity of the game in those late-season games,” Goodell said.
The NFL Kickoff weekend is slated to open on September 9, with the last week in the regular season concluding January 2, 2011.
The NFL playoffs wild-card weekend will commence on Saturday January 8, and the NFL playoffs will run through Super Bowl XLV, which will be played on February 6 in the new Cowboys Stadium.
The goal of the new format in the schedule, with respect to more division match ups over the course of the last three weeks, is to keep the both league and fan interest alike.
“We have a responsibility to our fans to put the highest-quality product out on the field,” Goodell remarked in the interview. “If this doesn’t have the kind of impact we want, we’re going to find three or four other things to try to have the same kind of outcome … But it is a difficult issue.”
Over the past several seasons, the league have been routinely criticized for teams that have already clinched a playoff berth playing backup players in order to preserve their starters for the playoffs.
Goodell believes that such a move takes away from the integrity of the regular season, and as such, has gone forward with the changes to the final week of the regular season.
The first game of the 2010 season will take place on September 9, with a rematch of the NFC championship game between Minnesota and New Orleans.
The regular season will run through January 2, 2011.
The Indianapolis Colts are the betting favorite to win Super Bowl XLV on Online Sportsbooks.