NFL: Super Bowl champions Baltimore Ravens' 2013 home opener may be on the road
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 19/03/13 5:51pm
Baltimore Ravens: Super Bowl champions in New Orleans
There is a possibility that the Baltimore Ravens will be forced to celebrate their Super Bowl victory by opening the new NFL season away from home due to a clash with Major League Baseball in the city.
NFL tradition over the last decade has been for the Super Bowl winners to stage the next season's big kick-off festivities with events in the city during the day and then the first game of the new season in the evening.
The champions usually host a Thursday night game before the rest of the league kicks-off on the following Sunday, but there is a chance the Ravens will not have this opportunity and may have to run out on the road.
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The Baltimore Orioles are scheduled to play that same Thursday, and with the two teams sharing car parking facilities they cannot stage fixtures at the same time.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says that he is trying to convince the MLB to move the Orioles game forward to Thursday afternoon to prevent the Ravens fans from missing out on a home opener.
"As you know, it is our tradition for the last 10 years to open with the Super Bowl champion back in their hometown on Thursday night," Goodell said at the annual NFL owners' meeting in Arizona.
"There is a conflict in the schedule because the Orioles are currently scheduled to play Thursday night sometime around 7.30pm. I have talked to Major League Baseball, I have called (MLB Commissioner) Bud Selig twice and spoken to him about that.
M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore
"We are trying to work out an accommodation to allow the Orioles' game to happen earlier in the afternoon and the Ravens to celebrate their Super Bowl championship with their fans at home on Thursday night.
"We think that is the right thing. We have agreed to move the game a little bit later in the evening to try to accommodate the baseball game.
"We think it will be a great day. As a 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 kick-off game will be a great day. We hope that is the way it will happen."
With the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah ruling out playing on Wednesday - the only other option would be to send the Ravens on the road.
"Wednesday night is Rosh Hashanah so we wouldn't play on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, the only option is to take the Ravens on the road," Goodell added.
"We think that is wrong for the Ravens' fans. We would not want that to happen. That is why we are trying to reach an accommodation here."