NFL Ponders Canceling Games

The Vikings are left in limbo as the NFL contemplates whether to postpone or cancel this weekend's games.

It seems like everything in the country was put on hold as the world watched in horror as the towers of the World Trade Center came crashing down and the Pentagon was seriously damaged by a series of suicide hijackers Tuesday, but an unexpected casualty could be Week Two of the NFL season.

The NFL league office, located mere miles from the WTC site, was closed Tuesday after the crash, but released a statement saying no decision has been made as of yet concerning the disposition of the weekend's games, which would include a game at Washington, Green Bay playing at the New York Giants and the Vikings at Baltimore -- a scant 50 miles from the Pentagon crash site.

While it is unlikely that any games will be canceled -- Tuesday was six days away from gametime anywhere -- if they are, it could create a logistical nightmare. The NFL came under fire in 1963 when, just 48 hours following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the league went on with all of its scheduled games. However, this is a terrorist act, which isn't the exact same situation as 1963.

The other problem would be creating a chaotic schedule. If the games were simply canceled, it would create a situation where San Diego, scheduled for a bye this week, would be able to play all 16 of its games, while Arizona, which had its bye in Week 1, would have just 14 games and go three weeks without playing a game. If the games were pushed back, it would change the dates on all the remaining games, making the schedule moot -- including scheduled Thanksgiving Day games in Dallas and Detroit.

A final option would be to move all the Week 2 games to the final week of the regular season, which would the Super Bowl back to February.

While the NFL is aware of the public relations aspect of the doing the respectful thing, there really is no reason to postpone games and, from the NFL sources that have spoken with VU, it's unlikely in the end that games will be cancelled or postponed.

* The Vikings added TE Matt Cercone to the 53-man roster Tuesday, releasing OT Jerry Wisne to make room for him.
* With two spots open on the practice squad with Cercone signing, the team filled both spots by signing WR Kenny Clark and G Mike Malano.
* The Ravens may have another defensive stud to throw at the Vikings. They are expected to sign former Pro Bowl safety Carnell Lake today.

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