The Washington Redskins’ players' mini-camp Tuesday wasn’t the day’s only bittersweet reminder that the NFL season is in jeopardy. The league also announced its schedule Tuesday.
If there is football in September, the New York Giants will visit the Washington Redskins on the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. If there is football in September.
The New York Jets would host the Dallas Cowboys on the same day.
That first Sunday features several high-profile games, including Indianapolis at Houston and Atlanta at Chicago, but much of the national focus will be on Washington and New York, the two cities most affected by the terrorist attacks.
The Redskins and Giants kick off at 4:15 p.m., with the Jets and Cowboys at 8:20 p.m.
“For nearly 10 years, we have felt an obligation to use our platform to make sure none of us ever forget the tragedy and heartbreak and courage and heroism of Sept. 11,” Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said. ``That responsibility becomes even greater.”
Pittsburgh was the third NFL city most closely affected by the terrorist attacks after Flight 93 crashed 80 miles away near Shanksville, Pa. The Steelers will visit the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 11.
The Redskins also will play in Canada, assuming there’s a season. The Buffalo Bills would host the Redskins on Oct. 30 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. The Bills have a deal with Rogers Communications through 2012 to play five regular-season games in Canada's largest city, the Associated Press reported.
Another notable date on the schedule is Monday Night Football at Dallas on Sept. 26.
Click here to see the whole schedule.
The regular season covers 17 weeks, with the opening round of the playoffs scheduled for Jan. 7-8 and the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis.
The NFL has expressed a desire to stretch the season to 18 games, one of the sticking points in the contentious fight between owners and players over a new labor agreement.
The two sides resumed court-ordered mediation on Tuesday in Minneapolis, with a federal judge's decision expected soon on a request to immediately halt the lockout.
The two sides spent 16 days immersed in mediated talks in Washington without coming to an agreement, resulting in a class-action antitrust lawsuit filed by the players against the NFL and the league's first work stoppage since 1987. They've recently spent about 20 hours over three days meeting in Minneapolis, with more discussions planned for Wednesday.
In a statement announcing next season's schedule, the NFL did not provide any contingencies should negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement stretch into the fall.