Postponed or Canceled?

The NFL announced earlier today that is has postponed this weekend's slate of games. The question now is whether or not they will be played at all?

One VU staffer has always had a pet peeve with the words "canceled" and "postponed." Because people don't always use them correctly, it needs to be -- at his behest -- clarified. To cancel a game means it will not be played, to postpone a game means that it will be made up at a later date.

It is that choice of wording that VU has been trying to track down today since the announcement came. When asked directly to make the differentiation, one league source told us that, for now, the games are postponed, not canceled. A decision on that will be made Friday.

As it stands, there are three scenarios that are possible -- it has already been ruled out that the schedule will simply resume with Week 2 games being played next week. Those scenarios are as follows:
SCENARIO ONE -- The games from Week 2 are simply canceled and all teams except San Diego, which was scheduled for its bye this week, would play a 15-game schedule. That would result in the post-season remaining as scheduled.
SCENARIO TWO -- The games of Week 2 are returned to the schedule and played after the games originally scheduled for Week 17. As most people realize, that would likely result in the elimination of the wild card round games, which would likely reduce the number of conference playoff teams from six in each conference to four, eliminate first-round byes and leave just eight teams with playoff berths.
SCENARIO THREE -- A hybrid of two approaches. One would be to move all playoff games back one week and add the scheduled games as per scenario two. However the Super Bowl is firmly scheduled for Jan. 27 and still planned to go on as scheduled because of the logistics of moving the crown jewel of the NFL. The other approach would be to tinker with the remainder of the schedule to use the bye weeks for all remaining teams (impossible for Arizona, however) to get all teams to play 16 games, but as Giants owner Wellington Mara said this afternoon, "That would take the commissioner and a computer to figure out." Neither of the hybrids of this scenario are likely.

So what we're left with is the likelihood that either wild card games will be sacrificed or the games of Week 2 simply won't exist. The NFL will announce Friday which route it plans to take.

WORK STOPPAGE NOTES
* It was reported that the 31 player representatives, including the Vikings' Robert Griffith, voted 31-0 to urge the league not to play the game. VU has been told that wasn't true. In a conference call Wednesday night, 28 player reps were hooked up and the vote was 17-11 to not play the weekend games and, after it was determined that a majority was not in favor of playing, all the reps voted to authorize union leader Gene Upshaw to ask for the games to not go on as planned.
* As late as Wednesday night, the concensus was that the games were going to be played, pending getting air transportation issues settled.
* From what VU is being told, the players union wants to play 16 regular season games and lessen the amount of playoff teams. It will be interesting to see if the league heeds this advice.
* Once the NFL made it's announcement, other sports events that were still scheduled for the weekend fell in line to announce postponements of their own. Major League Baseball, NASCAR and college football games featuring teams from the Big 10, Big 12, SEC and WAC all fell like dominoes -- announcing the postponements of games in the hours after the NFL announcement.

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