Third Time's A Charm: Giants, Cowboys To Kickoff 2012 NFL Season, Play Third NBC Game In Nine Months

The NFL has announced that the Dallas Cowboys will square off against the New York Giants in the 2012 season "kickoff game" on Wednesday, September 5. This will be the third time in a row that these teams will be playing on NBC, and the third year in a row that the Cowboys will open their season on NBC.

A month ago, we told you that the 2012 NFL season would be kicking off on a Wednesday night. And, of course, it would involve the world champion New York Giants.

Now, we know who the first opponent in the Giants’ defense of their 2011-12 championship will be. It’s a familiar one. And it is a division rival.

But it won’t be the Washington Redskins, who opened their season with the Giants for the previous two seasons.

Instead, it’ll be the Dallas Cowboys. That’s right: for an unprecedented third time in a row, the Giants and Cowboys will be playing a regular season game on NBC. Their first regular season matchup of 2011 was not until Week 14, with their Week 17 contest flexed into “Sunday Night Football” given the “win and you’re in” factor of the game.

And now, these teams will be playing the first NFL game to be played on a Wednesday night in 64 years.

So it shall be the Giants opening the 2012 season against a team they swept last year (Cowboys), as opposed to the Redskins, who despite their 6-10 record, managed to win both games against the Giants in 2011.

No matter how much apathy you might exhibit at this decision (and there’s been quite a few on my own Twitter timeline after the announcement was first made), it was the right decision.

Considering the Redskins were players (albeit not favorites, but on the radar) in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, had the former Colts quarterback headed to the Nation’s Capital, you can bet that it would be the Redskins, and not the Cowboys, opening the 2012 season, for the simple fact that it would be Peyton, barring a setback in his neck surgery recovery, against his little brother Eli, who has now won twice as many Super Bowls as his older brother. Of course, playing against his brother was a factor in Peyton choosing to stay in the AFC, and joining the Broncos.

And while Robert Griffin III, expected to be drafted by the Redskins, is as dynamic as the scouts say he is, he probably wouldn’t generate as much ratings gold as Tony Romo and company would deliver when they clash with the G-Men, as evidenced by their January 1 “playoffs or bust” showdown.

As for the Cowboys on NBC, the magic number is 3: Not only will this be the third consecutive time their game against the Giants will be shown on the Peacock Network, but it’s the third year in a row that the Cowboys have opened their season with a game on NBC. They hosted the Redskins on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 1 in 2010, and traveled to the Meadowlands to face the Jets in Week 1 last year. The Cowboys would lose both of those games.

And the odds don’t appear to be in the Cowboys’ favor for this year’s opener: The Super Bowl champion is a perfect 8-0 in the season “kickoff game” dating back to 2004. Throw in the Redskins’ win over the Jets in 2003, and you have nine years in a row that the home team won the “kickoff game.” (The lone road win was in 2002 by the 49ers; the team on the losing end of that one just happened to be the Giants.)

Also, as Inside Football’s Patricia Traina reminds us, the Giants have an astounding 5-1 record on games played on Wednesdays, including a perfect 2-0 in season openers played on “hump day.” (Note that these games were played way back in the mid-’20’s and early ’30’s.) This will be the first Wednesday game for the Giants in 78 years. (Efforting to get the last time, if at all, the Cowboys played a Wednesday game…)

The rest of the NFL schedule is slated to be released in the third week of April, possibly April 18 – though prior to, the league may share the matchups for certain games such as the trio to be played on Thanksgiving – the night game to be played for the first time on NBC.

But not before the first Wednesday NFL game since the merger is to be played on NBC.

Linsensitive! Knicks' Network Chewed Out For Showing Jeremy Lin Fortune Cookie Graphic


During Wednesday night's Knicks game, an MSG Network camera curiously panned this sign, showing Jeremy Lin's head superimposed over a fortune cookie and a yellow sun. Lin is the first American-born NBA player of Chinese descent to play the game.

MSG Network finds itself the unlucky recipient of some unwanted criticism today.

And as you might expect, Jeremy Lin, the first Taiwanese-American player in the NBA, happens to be, well, Lin-volved.

On the heels of Jason Whitlock making a tenfold effort to apologize for a tweet taking a potshot at his (and collectively, all Asians) groin area, another Lin-linked tweet went hot on Twitter after the Knicks’ seventh straight victory, at home against the Sacramento Kings. And it came from the Twitter account of Darren Rovell – no, he didn’t suggest that Lin would make the Playboy Playmates of today look great – it was actually tipping off his many followers to what may have been another act of Lin-sensitivity.

“MSG walking a fine line with this Lin fortune cookie graphic tonight,” tweeted Rovell after the game. Attached to the tweet was a photo taken on his giant Samsung HD screen (he’s probably not a Time Warner Cable customer) showing Lin’s face, his mouth wide open, over a yellow sun, and a broken fortune cookie, with a fortune that read, “The Knicks Good Fortune.”

It prompted MSG Networks to tweet the following message late this morning: “What appeared briefly last night was not an MSG graphic; it was one of many fan signs in the arena.”

Translation: MSG is throwing one of their own camerapeople under the bus for deciding to take a shot at this “fan sign.” Granted, it’s not like I would expect MSG to do a feature on Lin during the Knicks postgame show and whip up a graphic such as the “good fortune” one to display on the air, as if it were their own.

It’s an innocent-looking sign, and I’m sure the fan who created it is a Knicks fan and does not wish to mock Lin’s race. I mean, it’s not over-the-top that the sign was confiscated by security at the Garden, right?

But at the same time, I’m not defending it. Such a sign can easily be construed as a painted-with-a-large-brush stereotype – and I’m sure people of other races can relate.

It’s not like human beings such as Jeremy Lin should be synonymous with beef lo mein.

And I’ve seen far worse signs at games referencing Lin – this one actually manages to mock both Asians and Italians at the same time! I don’t see the outrage over that sign.

Which is why, had Darren Rovell not tweeted a photo of the “good fortune” sign, this “cookie controversy” may have flown under the radar.

Meanwhile, no apology was made by MSG for showing the sign. The least they could do is tell viewers, “Sorry for the Lin-convenience.”