2010-11 NFL Season Key Dates by Lloyd Vance

Taking It to the House’s 2010 NFL Season Key Dates, which you know are circled on many people’s football calendar (including Peter King)

Here is a list of key dates that I believe every football fan will need to know going into the 2010 NFL season.  I am sure every NFL talking head including Anthony Munoz, Peter King, Chris Berman, Fran Charles, Solomon Wilcots, and myself will have these dates circled on their calendars.


Jan. 3: Clubs may begin signing free-agent players for the 2011 season.

  • February 4 – The first opportunity for clubs to designate franchise and transition players.
  • February 25 — Deadline for clubs to designate franchise and transition players.
  • February 24 – March 2 — NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis, Indiana – The NFL’s annual pro prospect poking and prodding event
  • March 4 — Deadline for submission of qualifying offers by clubs to their restricted free agents (fewer than 6 years of free agency credit) whose contracts have expired and to whom they desire to retain a right of first refusal/compensation
  • March 4 — Deadline for clubs to submit offer of minimum salary to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with fewer than three seasons of free agency credit whose contracts have expired.
  • March 4 — Expiration date of all player contracts due to expire in 2010
  • March 5 — Veteran free agency signing and trading periods begin
  • March 21-24 — NFL Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida
  • April 15 — Signing period ends for restricted free agents.  After this date, unsigned restricted free agents (i.e. Have not signed their “tender”) can only sign with their own team.  Usually this is the day that players sign their “tenders” to secure a good salary for the upcoming season or to work out an extension.
  • April 20 – 2010 NFL Schedule was released on this date (schedule maker Howard Katz)
  • April 21 — Deadline for old club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.
  • April 22-24 — NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
  • April 30 – June 25 – Various Rookie Camps and OTAs (voluntary and mandatory) for all NFL teams
  • May 24-26 — NFL Spring Meeting, Dallas, Texas
  • June 1 — Deadline for old clubs to send tender to unsigned unrestricted free agents to receive exclusive negotiating rights for rest of season if player is not signed by another club 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 — Usually a big “cut” day in the NFL.  But without a salary cap in 2011, unneeded veterans can be cut at any time this year without ramifications.  So this date doesn’t have the significance as in years past.
  • June 15 — Deadline for old clubs to withdraw original qualifying offer to unsigned restricted free agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting the tender with an offer of 110 percent of the unsigned player’s previous year’s salary.
  • June 27 – June 30 — NFL Rookie Symposium, Carlsbad, California. This is the yearly NFL freshman basic skills prep course
  • July 15 — 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 (2011).
  • July 15– The last day for “Franchised” players to sign a long-term deal with their teams otherwise they will have to play under the terms of their 1-year franchised deals. 
  • July 22 — Signing period ends at 4:00 PM ET for unrestricted free agents who received a 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.
  • July 25 — NFL Training Camps “officially” open with the Buffalo Bills reporting to St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, NY.  The last teams to report on August 3rd will be the Colts, Jaguars, Panthers, and Seahawks.
  • August 7 – Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010 Enshrinement Ceremonies.  The newest class of enshrinees (RB Emmitt Smith, OT Russ Grimm, WR Jerry Rice, OLB/DE Rickey Jackson, RB Floyd Little, CB Dick LeBeau, and DT John Randle) will be formally inducted into the PHOF in a ceremony held at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
  • August 8 – Pro Football Hall of Fame Game featuring the Dallas Cowboys vs. Cincinnati Bengals – NBC, 8pm ET.  The NFL’s 2010 season kicks off with the preseason opener featuring at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
  • August 12-16 — First preseason weekend with featured match-ups: Thursday, August 12 – Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens – ESPN, 8pm ET; Monday, August 16 – New York Giants at New York Jets – ESPN, 8pm ET
  • August 19-23 – Second preseason weekend with featured match-ups: Thursday, August 19 – New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons – FOX, 8pm ET; Friday, August 20 – Philadelphia Eagles at Cincinnati Bengals – FOX, 8pm ET; Sunday, August 22 – Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers – NBC, 8pm ET; Monday, August 23 – Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans – ESPN, 8pm ET
  • Aug. 20-23 – After a 1-year hiatus the arena football league is back and the 2010 AFL season will culminate with the playing of the 2010 ArenaBowl Championship game (NFL Network) 
  •  August 26-30 – Third preseason weekend with featured match-ups: Thursday, August 26 – Indianapolis Colts at Green Bay Packers – ESPN, 8pm ET; Friday, August 27 – San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints – CBS, 8pm ET; Saturday, August 28 – Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans – CBS, 8pm ET; Sunday, August 29 – Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos – FOX, 8pm ET
  • August 31 — Roster cutdown to maximum of 75 players. 
  • September 2 – The NFL preseason ends as every team playing their fourth preseason game on Thursday night with featured match-ups: NY Jets at Philadelphia Eagles – ETN, 7:30 PM ET; New England Patriots at NY Giants – 7 PM EST; and San Diego Chargers at SF 49ers – 10 PM EST
  • September 4 — Roster cutdown to maximum of 53 players.
  • September 6 — NFL teams can sign up to 8 players to their practice squad.
  • September 9-13 — 2010 Kickoff Weekend. For the seventh consecutive season the Super Bowl champion will open the slate as the champion New Orleans Saints hosting the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 9 at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.  The Sunday night (9/12) primetime game will feature a division match-up as the Dallas Cowboys host the Washington Redskins (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET). On Monday, Sept. 13, ESPN will host a “Monday Night Football” doubleheader with the first game being Baltimore Ravens at NY Jets (7:00 p.m. ET) and MNF nightcap San Diego Chargers at the Kansas City Chiefs (10:15 p.m. ET)
  • September 19 – The Manning Bowl as Eli Manning leads the NY Giants into Lucas Oil Stadium for a showdown against older brother Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts (8:30 PM ET on NBC)
  • October 3– QB Donovan McNabb leads the Washington Redskins into Lincoln Financial Field  to take on his old team, the Philadelphia Eagles (4:15 pm. ET – FOX)
  • October 11-14 — NFL Fall Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • October 17 – 2009 NFL Playoff revenge game as the Dallas Cowboys visit the Minnesota Vikings (4:15 PM ET on FOX)
  • October 19 — NFL Trade Deadline @ 4 PM EST – This is the last chance for teams to grab players from other teams via a trade, but don’t hold your breath.
  • October 31 – Regular season NFL football returns to London, England for the 4th year in a row at Wembley Stadium in London as the San Francisco 49ers “host” the Denver Broncos at 1 PM EST (5:00 p.m. UK). The game will be broadcast on CBS in the United States and on Sky Sports and BBC in the United Kingdom
  • November 7 – The NFL returns to Toronto, Canada with the Buffalo Bills hosting the Chicago Bears at 1:00 PM on FOX
  • November 15 – 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 to injured reserve or being released.
  • November 16 – Deadline for clubs to sign drafted players. If player remains unsigned after this date, he is prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2010.
  • November 21 – The annual meeting between the NFL’s most decorated quarterbacks (Peyton Manning and Tom Brady) as the Indianapolis Colts visit the New England Patriots (4:15 PM EST – CBS)
  • November 25 – NFL Thanksgiving Day Games:  New England Patriots at the Detroit Lions (CBS, 12:30 p.m. ET), New Orleans Saints at the Dallas Cowboys (Fox, 4:15 PM ET); Cincinnati Bengals at the NY Jets (NFL Network, 8:20 p.m. ET)
  • November 26/27 – The second season of the United Football League (UFL) will conclude with the playing of the league’s championship game (Versus).  After the UFL’s champion is crowned, the league’s free agents are free to sign with NFL teams for their late season push.
  • November  28 — The Canadian Football League (CFL) season will commence with the playing of the 98th Grey Cup game in Commonwealth Stadium – Edmonton, Alberta (TSN)
  • December 9 – Big AFC South showdown on NFL Network Thursday Night Football as the Indianapolis Colts travel to Tennessee to face Vince Young and the Titans (NFL Network, 8:20 p.m. ET)
  • December 25 – A Christmas Day special game as the Dallas Cowboys travel to the desert to face the Arizona Cardinals (NFL Network, 7:20 p.m. ET)


  • January 2 – The 2010 NFL Regular Season ends with the league scheduling 16 divisional games (all on Sunday) in hopes that teams will shy away from “resting” players.  One of the bigger games should be ARI @ SF  Candlestick Park FOX, 4:15 PM
  • January 3 – NFL teams may begin signing free-agent players for the 2011 season.
  • January 8-9 — Wild Card Weekend (NBC, CBS, and FOX)
  • January 9 – NFL Assistant coaches under contract to playoff teams that have Wild Card Weekend byes may interview for head coaching positions through the conclusion of wild card games.
  • January 15 -16 — Divisional Playoffs (CBS and FOX)
  • January 23 — AFC and NFC Championship Games (CBS and FOX)
  • January 29 – College Football’s Top Senior football players culminate a week of training by playing in the 2011 Senior Bowl at 3PM on NFL Network (Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, AL)
  • January 30  — NFL Pro Bowl with AFC All-Stars vs. NFC All-Stars in Honolulu, Hawaii (FOX)
  • February 6  — Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas  (FOX)



Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)


Author: lloydvance

Lloyd Vance is a NFL Writer, Analyst, Draft Expert, Researcher, and Historian. He serves as a Editor for "Taking It to the House and he covers the NFL on a daily basis. He is an Accredited Member of NFL Media and Philadelphia Eagles Media. Member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA), Pro Football Researchers Association (PFRA), and The Maxwell Football Club

7 thoughts on “2010-11 NFL Season Key Dates by Lloyd Vance”

  1. Very well written post. Will probably be precious to anyone who uses it, including myself. Keep up the nice work! Iwill be back to take a look at your posts again soon.

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