World & Nation

NFL moves 2012 season opener to avoid conflict with Obama speech

2008 Democratic National Convention

Then-Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden wave to the crowd at the 2008 Democratic National Convention at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

(Matthew Cavanaugh / EPA)

Talk about a bully pulpit. The National Football League announced Tuesday that it will open the 2012 season on a Wednesday night instead of a Thursday to avoid conflicting with President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the kickoff game, to be hosted by the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, will be Sept. 5.

Obama is scheduled to accept his party’s nomination for a second term the following night in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium, home to the city’s pro-football franchise the Carolina Panthers.

It will mark the second straight year that politics and football threatened to conflict, but last year it was Obama altering his schedule to accommodate the NFL.


The White House announced plans for a joint session address to Congress during prime time last September so Obama could discuss his new jobs plan. First, he had to change the date after Republicans complained he would be stepping on a planned GOP debate. Then he had to move the speech up an hour, just before prime time, to ensure that his remarks would be finished in time for kickoff of the 2011 season opener between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.

Moving the season opener to Wednesday means Obama’s speech will have the widest audience possible, without conflicts. In the process, however, Joe Biden’s vice presidential nominating speech will be overshadowed.

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