The list of key dates around the NFL that will make talking heads like John Madden say “Boom”
(Philadelphia, Pa) — Here is a list of key dates that I believe every football fan will need to know going into the 2008 NFL season. I am sure every NFL talking head including John Madden, Peter King, Chris Berman, Fran Charles, Ray Didinger, and others will have some kind of variation of this document in their stack of NFL propaganda.
- Late May thru June – Rookies from all 32 NFL teams are scheduled to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame during June 2008. The program will run for five weeks with the first team being the Oakland Raiders on May 28th. The Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins rookies will visit in August, when their teams participate in the Hall of Fame Game.
- June 1 — Deadline for old clubs to send tender to unsigned unrestricted free agents to receive exclusive negotiating rights for rest of season if another club does not sign player by July 22.
- June 1 — Deadline for old clubs to send tender to unsigned restricted free agents or to extend qualifying offer to retain exclusive negotiating rights.
- June 1 — Under CBA rules, this date allows veterans that have received signing bonuses in the past to be cut by their teams without their entire signing bonus kicking-in for the current cap year. By cutting a veteran after this date, the past signing bonuses can be stretched into the next cap year rather than taking a hit all at once.
- June 15 — Deadline for old clubs to withdraw original qualifying offer to unsigned restricted free agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting tender of 110 percent of previous year’s salary.
- June 29-July 2 — NFL Rookie Symposium in Carlsbad, California. This is the yearly NFL freshman basic skills prep course.
- Around July 12 — NFL Supplemental Draft – The NFL’s “special” draft for players wishing to enter the NFL for a number of reasons (Academics, Family Obligations, etc) that missed the main NFL Draft in April. If a team elects to use a supplemental draft pick on one of the eligible prospects, that team will give up its pick in the same round in next April’s draft (2009).
- July 22 — Signing period ends at 4:00 PM ET for unrestricted free agents who received June 1 tender. This means that a player unhappy with the contract tendered to him can either sign the deal or holdout. Once the deadline passes, franchise players can sign only one-year deals with their current teams. Watch for franchised players Titans DT Albert Haynesworth and Dallas FS Ken Hamlin
- July 27 — The Arena Football League (AFL) season will commence with the playing of ArenaBowl XXII in New Orleans at 3 pm (ABC)
- Late July — Training camps open. The Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins will be the first to open camp as both have rookies reporting on July 22nd. The last teams to report will be the Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and Baltimore Ravens with all checking players in on July 29th.
- August 2 – Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2008 Enshrinement Ceremonies. The newest class of enshrinees (WR Art Monk, CB Darryl Green, LB Andre Tippett, DB Emitt Thomas, DE Fred Dean, and OT Gary Zimmerman) will be formally inducted into the PHOF in a ceremony held at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
- August 3 — Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. The NFL’s 2008 season kicks off with the preseason opener featuring the Indianapolis Colts vs. Washington Redskins at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Game time is 8:00 p.m (NBC).
- August 7-11 — First full week of preseason games with featured match-ups: Baltimore @ New England on 8/7, New Orleans @ Arizona on 8/8 (ESPN), and Cincinnati @ GB on 8/11 (ESPN).
- August 14-17 – Week 2 of preseason games with featured match-ups: Carolina @ Philadelphia on 8/14 (Fox), OAK @ TEN on 8/15 (CBS), and NE @ TB on 8/17 (NFL NETWORK)
- August 21-25 — Week 3 of preseason games with featured match-ups: HOU @ DAL on 8/22 (CBS), PIT @ MIN on 8/23 (CBS), and SEA @ SD on 8/25 (ESPN)
- August 26 — Roster cutdown to maximum of 75 players.
- August 28-29 — Week 4 of preseason games with featured match-ups: JAC @ WAS on 8/28 (NBC) and SD @ SF on 8/29
- August 30 — Roster cutdown to maximum of 53 players.
- September 2 — NFL teams can sign up to 8 players to their practice squad.
- September 4 — First game will feature the Super Bowl Champion playing on Thursday night as usual with WAS @ NYG, 7:00 PM (NBC).
- September 7 — First slate of Sunday Games with featured match-ups: KC @ NE, 1:00 PM (CBS), DAL @ CLE, 4:15 PM (FOX), and CHI @ IND, 8:15 PM (NBC)
- September 8 – Monday Night Football Doubleheader with MIN @ GB, 7:00 PM (ESPN) and DEN @ OAK, 10:15 PM (ESPN)
- Around October 17th — NFL Trade Deadline – This is the last chance for teams to grab players from other teams via a trade, but don’t hold your breath.
- October 26, 2008 — The NFL invades Merry Ole England for the second time in the regular season as the San Diego Chargers face the New Orleans Saints at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
- November 06 – Players on NFL teams’ Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list must be activated by Week 10. If they are not moved off the list, they must be removed from the team’s active roster.
- November 23 — The Canadian Football League (CFL) season will commence with the playing of the 96th Grey Cup game at Olympic Stadium in Montreal (TSN)
- November 27 – NFL Thanksgiving Day Games with TEN @ DET, 12:30 PM (CBS), SEA @ DAL, 4:15 PM (FOX), and ARI @ PHI, 8:15 PM (NFL NETWORK)
- January 3-4 — Wild Card Weekend (NBC, CBS, and Fox)
- January 10-11 — Divisional Playoffs (CBS and Fox)
- January 18 — AFC and NFC Championship Games (CBS and Fox)
- February 1 — Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Florida (NBC)
- February 8 — NFL Pro Bowl with AFC All-Stars vs. NFC All-Stars in Honolulu, Hawaii (NBC)
Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer/Analyst for Taking It to the House and an award winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)
Filed under: Chris Berman, Fran Charles, NFL, NFL Key Dates, Peter King, Ray Didinger Tagged: | 2008 NFL Cut Day, 2008 NFL Season, 2008 Thanksgiving Games, Chris Berman, Fran Charles, John Madden, NFL, NFL Cut Dates, NFL Key Dates, Peter King, Ray Didinger, Sports