ARIZONA CARDINALS

Valley football schedule includes Cardinals, ASU sharing a Thursday

Apr 19, 2018, 8:48 PM

(AP photos)...

(AP photos)

(AP photos)

It’s hard to make the NFL schedule.

32 teams in 31 stadiums. The Raiders share their building with the A’s. The Chiefs share a parking lot with the Royals. The Chargers play in a soccer stadium. The Bengals and Reds are too close to play on the same day. Despite having three venues for the four teams, it seems like the Eagles, Phillies, 76ers and Flyers all play in the same building since they’re so close together. There are other conflicts around the league but you get the picture.

After studying the NFL schedule release, out of all the conflicts, the one I hate the most is on a Thursday night. I love college football on a Thursday night. I’m not a fan of NFL Thursday nights. Just to rub it in, the NFL jumps right on top of one city’s Thursday night of college football: OUR CITY!

The NFL announced the schedules of each team. Every team plays a Thursday night game. The Cardinals play at home against the Broncos on Oct. 18. At the same time, in the city that hosts the Arizona Cardinals’ headquarters, Arizona State hosts Stanford.

It’s not the Cardinals fault. They have very little say in their schedule. There is no grassy knoll conspiracy of the NFL secretly out to stick it to Ray Anderson for leaving the company. Out of all of the issues the NFL has trying to schedule games, trust me, no one sits in the NFL front office and says, “When does ASU play?” It just stinks that it happened.

A year after my family moved to Phoenix, I was so honored to be asked by ASU to work on their broadcasts. I did it every year until I started coaching two soccer teams and then something had to give so I chose my daughter over ASU. Since I try to go to every Cardinals home game, each April I would juxtapose the Cardinals schedule against Arizona State. Even though I’m not a part of ASU broadcasts anymore, I still like to see what problems are created by comparing the games.

For an example, for a few years in a row, Washington State or Washington would play on a Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium on the same weekend the Cardinals hosted Seattle, creating only a small home-field advantage because of the deluge of “bored with life Seattle-ites” who would invade the city. Another neat coincidence a couple of years ago had ASU and the Cardinals playing in the Bay area over Thanksgiving weekend.

Ever since I compared schedules the first time, I’ve done it every year since. I’m interested in the small coincidences. I also did it for travel purposes and prep for the Doug and Wolf show.

This year the big takeaway is joint Thursday night games in the Valley, but here are some other tidbits I picked up, if you’re interested.

There’s a small road trip available for those of you that are hard core enough to root passionately for both teams and have worked so hard to be in a financial position to enjoy a football road trip. You could drive or fly to San Diego after work on Thursday night, Sept. 13 and sit on the beach all day Friday. ASU plays San Diego State on Saturday the 15th. After the game or the next morning, you could drive to LA to see Arizona in their first divisional game against the Rams at the Coliseum.

That September weekend is also one of five weekends during the Sun Devil season where we have no football in the Valley, including three weekends in a row in October. The first weekend to start October has ASU in Boulder and the Cardinals in Santa Clara. ASU is off the second weekend, while the Cardinals take on Kirk Cousins and his big contract in Minnesota. The third weekend of the month is the weekend after the “Thursday Night Doubleheader” so both teams have their “mini-bye” that weekend. The only other time it happens during ASU’s season is the last weekend. It’s an even year so ASU plays for the Territorial Cup in Tucson. The Cardinals make the rare second trip to Los Angelos, this time to face the Chargers the next day.

Besides the double-double of Thursday night, there are only two other weekends where the Devils and Cardinals are both at home. The Cardinals start the season at home against Washington on Sept. 9, the day after ASU hosts Michigan State. At the end of September, the Beavers and Seahawks travel to Tempe and Glendale.

I hope this helps you plan out your football weekends. Without malice, the NFL didn’t do us any favors to root, root, root for the home teams.

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