Keith Olbermann Will Appear On MLB Network As Guest Host

‘Tis the season: Keith Olbermann will be doing vacation relief during Thanksgiving week, guest hosting the “Hot Stove” program alongside Brian Kenny on MLB Network.

Back on March 30, the day Keith Olbermann was dismissed from what appeared to be the umpteenth television job in his long and storied career – the Al Gore-backed Current TV network – I argued why it would not only be a good fit for the former ESPN and Fox Sports personality to land at MLB Network – but it’s one of the few places left where he has yet to burn bridges (or in the case of ESPN, “Napalm” them).

And the fact that he already maintains a blog on the Major League Baseball blog network – titled “Baseball Nerd” (which was the source of a juicy Yankees rumor during the past postseason) – it’s basically a match made in, well, baseball nerddom.

On Friday morning, the day after the announcements of the American and National Leagues’ Most Valuable Players, MLB Network announced that Olbermann will be a guest host of their midday “Hot Stove” program on the Tuesday and Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving. He will be joined by another former ESPN alum, Brian Kenny. “Hot Stove” is usually anchored by another ex-ESPN-er, Harold Reynolds, along with Matt Vasgersian, who had previously toiled at Fox Sports as well as NBC.

As many familiar with Olbermann’s career already know, he was relieved of his duties at all three of the aforementioned networks.

Before appearing on “Hot Stove” on Friday morning via telephone, he appeared on in-studio panel discussions as recent as this past Thursday on “Clubhouse Confidential,” hosted by the aforementioned Brian Kenny.

Only time will tell if this guest host stint on Thanksgiving week is a precursor of something bigger down the line.

It’s not necessarily a flat out hire of Keith Olbermann, as I had speculated back when he was fired from his recent television gig at Current TV.

But it’s a start.

Of course, the question is whether or not he’ll stay out of Tony Petitti’s hair.

Could Free Agent Keith Olbermann Step Up To The Plate And Join MLB Network?

With the news that former ESPN, NBC and FOX Sports personality Keith Olbermann has parted ways with Current TV, there may be a chance that, after concentrating on political news content for the greater part of the last nine years, he may go back to his sports broadcasting roots and resurface on MLB Network or CBS Sports Network.

Former sports broadcaster Keith Olbermann is once again out of a non-sports broadcasting television job.

His political news program “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” which he had hosted for nearly eight years at MSNBC, has been canceled by Current TV after just nine months, and fifteen months after Olbermann joined the network. According to The New York Times’ Brian Stelter, who broke the story, Current severed ties with Olbermann after citing that he has violated the channel’s “values” as “an authentic progressive outlet.” Olbermann’s program content on “Countdown’ reflected his Democratic political leaning, which conformed with the demographic of Current, and MSNBC before it. (Both networks’ programming is mostly of a progressive political persuasion.)

There is a saying: When one door closes, another one opens. Perhaps there’s a chance that Keith Olbermann could return to sports broadcasting – provided there are any takers.

Such a move would bring Olbermann’s career full circle. In the late 1970’s, while he was concentrating on academics at Hackley School and Cornell University, he had dabbled in those schools’ radio stations. He would get his first round of face time when he joined the upstart CNN in 1981, where he would anchor sports updates. For the remainder of the 1980’s, Olbermann would hold sports anchor jobs in radio and television, in top markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Boston.

It was at ESPN where his star flourished in the mid-1990’s. His pairing with Dan Patrick was said to be the most popular “SportsCenter” anchor era of all time. That would come to an abrupt end in 1997, when former colleague Craig Kilborn, invited Olbermann to appear on his new Comedy Central program, “The Daily Show.” At the end of the segment, Kilborn did a “Five Questions” bit with Olbermann. One of the questions was: “What is the most God forsaken place on the East Coast?” Olbermann’s answer: “Bristol, Connecticut.” That counted as a correct answer, at least on the show. But not in the Worldwide Leader’s eyes. And it didn’t help that Olbermann’s appearance on “The Daily Show” was not authorized by ESPN. Olbermann would eventually leave ESPN later that year. (Kilborn would voluntarily leave “The Daily Show” in 1999; the show has since been hosted by Jon Stewart.)

In the dozen years that followed, Olbermann would work odd sports jobs at other outlets: his three-year relationship with FOX included a weekly program on FOX Sports Net. His tenure would come to an end in 2001 when he reported on FOX about rumors that the Dodgers were being sold by owner Rupert Murdoch, which also owns News Corporation, which owns FOX. (Murdoch would sell the team to Frank McCourt, who sold it to a group including Magic Johnson just this week.) He provided daily sports commentary segments for ABC Radio. And he spent three years as a co-host of NBC’s “Football Night In America” from 2007 to 2010.

As Olbermann donned his sports broadcasting hat, he would also work, at times simultaneously, in news journalism. When he left ESPN in 1997, he started a nightly program on MSNBC that was originally titled, “The Big Show with Keith Olbermann.” The next year, at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal involving former President Bill Clinton, his program has focused on “Intern-Gate”, much to his chagrin. It was at that point that he left MSNBC for FOX.

Olbermann would return to MSNBC in 2003 to host “Countdown.” As he verbally sparred with FOX News Channel host Bill O’Reilly – whose “O’Reilly Factor” aired opposite “Countdown” – and President George W. Bush, during and after his second term, he would become one of cable news’ most polarizing personalities. Despite that, NBC signed him as a co-host for their “Sunday Night Football” extended pregame show, which recapped the NFL games played earlier that day. When NBC brought his old pal Dan Patrick on board, it was just like old times, if only for once a week: The duo would spark “SportsCenter” nostalgia in the hopes that it would help the ratings of “Football Night,” which were never stellar, especially when airing opposite late games that went into overtime, or, simply, prime time. (You will recall “Football Night” also hired one Tiki Barber.) Olbermann would be removed from the program in 2010, at the behest of his bosses at MSNBC, over concerns that the extracurricular NBC program was a distraction; clearly, “Countdown” had been Olbermann’s bread and butter.

Later that fall, it would be revealed that Olbermann had sent $2,400 in campaign contributions to three Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2010 elections, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who, unfortunately, resigned her seat over a year after she was tragically shot in the head. When MSNBC learned of this, they had suspended Olbermann indefinitely. Like his appearance on Comedy Central years ago, his political contributions were not authorized by management of the network signing his checks. Olbermann and MSNBC would part ways in January of 2011.

Olbermann was hired by Current TV in February 2011 with the title of “chief news officer”. The channel, co-owned by Al Gore, who served as Vice President under Clinton in the 1990’s, would relaunch “Countdown” in June 2011. Despite a “rocky relationship” with network brass, the former veep would give Olbermann a vote of confidence. (Sports fans: You already know how valuable votes of confidence are in sports.) Apparently, the situation between the anchor and the network came to a head, as Current abruptly severed ties with Olbermann this afternoon.

Already, many are wondering what the next stop for Olbermann will be – if at all.

Based on this recap of his career in news and sports broadcasting, it may give the impression that he’s not a good employee when the cameras are off. Certainly, Olbermann has been notorious for burning bridges with his former employers. So you can already cross a few media entities off the list: ESPN/ABC (where he didn’t just burn bridges, “he napalmed them“); FOX (especially if it’s still under Murdoch’s watch; Murdoch himself was once quoted as calling Olbermann “crazy”); and his most recent cable news employers, Current and MSNBC.

The very post that you’re reading may be a case of deja vu. When Olbermann left MSNBC last year, there were many speculating whether it would be possible for Olbermann to return to sports broadcasting. Of course, back then, there were two fewer cable sports networks at the time. CBS Sports Network launched in April 2011, with NBC Sports Network following on the day after New Year’s Day 2012. And incidentally, word on the street this week is that FOX is planning to launch a new general cable sports network. Obviously, FOX’s new network is not an option, and it isn’t even on the air yet. But it certainly is not out of the question for Olbermann to resurface at CBS Sports Network, or perhaps, even NBC Sports Network: remember that in 2011, Olbermann was discharged by MSNBC, not NBC or NBC Sports; it was MSNBC that ended his association with NBC Sports. And I don’t recall Olbermann trashing NBC in the wake of his departure from MSNBC, so there is a possibility he could appear on NBC Sports Network – but it’s not a lock.

The lock in this instance would be CBS Sports Network. With all of the many stops on Olbermann’s storied resume, his only employment for CBS was at the network’s owned-and-operated Los Angeles station, KCBS, in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. Also, he has a good friendship with CBS late night host David Letterman. That in and of itself would be a huge endorsement for Olbermann’s future at CBS, if not CBS Sports Network. CBSSN could benefit from a huge name; they’re already going all in with Jim Rome, the former ESPN program host whose new show on CBSSN launches next week. Olbermann might bring a slightly higher demographic to CBSSN than Rome, but he brings experience and a wealth of knowledge to the table. Olbermann could be best suited for a baseball-themed show. He’s maintained a blog (endorsed by Major League Baseball) going back to the days when he balanced football on NBC and politics on MSNBC. In fact, he just posted a new blog entry previewing the season ahead for the American League East just hours before his departure from Current TV was made public.

Which leads to another possibility of a future television employer, and perhaps a more likely landing spot: the three-year-old MLB Network. They, too, could use Olbermann’s vast knowledge and star power. A nightly highlight show in the vein of “SportsCenter” would be ideal. In case you missed it, the title of his MLB-sanctioned blog is “Baseball Nerd.” He’s even authored baseball-themed stories on “Countdown.” An Olbermann/MLB Network marriage would benefit both sides. And it wouldn’t be Olbermann’s first appearance on MLB Network: He had appeared on the January 12 edition of “Clubhouse Confidential“. And given his political penchant, it didn’t take long before posters on a thread promoting the appearance on MLB Network’s Facebook page started mentioning the likes of Ron Paul and Rush Limbaugh.

Of course, of concern to any future employer, such as CBS or MLB Network, is Olbermann’s history of “burning bridges” and excess baggage, but most importantly, his political patronizing over the last decade. There are thousands of videos on YouTube of Olbermann’s old MSNBC shows, specifically his popular “Special Comment” segments, in which shades of anger are regularly exhibited, that could turn a network off, depending on what clip they were looking at. But it’s not his fault. When he chose to delve into a political news niche, that was a decision that he believed in, and he gained a loyal following from his days at MSNBC. Because Keith Olbermann may be known in recent years as a bridge burner, and an anger spewer on television, it should not ensconce the days of sports broadcasting that put Keith Olbermann on the map.

While mollifying his political pep may be a requirement if hired by a sports outlet, such as CBS Sports Network, it’s possible Keith Olbermann may find it in his heart to do so.

This is obviously contingent on whether or not he wants to return to sports broadcasting in the first place.

But there could be a couple of opportunities knocking in the form of CBS and MLB Network – and I’m sure Keith’s got a few more innings left in him.

UPDATE: Since this blog was first posted, there’s been new developments: As Olbermann vowed to take legal action against Current over breach of contract, Current claims Olbermann himself was in breach of contract by missing “19 out of 41 working days” over the first two months of 2012 alone (did we mention his appearance on MLB Network was in January?); apparently, network management was incensed when Olbermann asked for another vacation day in March and, despite not being an approved vacation day, he took it anyway.

Incidentally, I wonder if Olbermann had asked Current about taking a vacation day for this upcoming Thursday, April 5 – that’s when he will once again be reunited with Dan Patrick for a live seminar at New York’s Paley Center titled “Twentieth Anniversary Of The Big Show: Keith Olbermann And Dan Patrick Together Again.” It will be moderated by Jim Miller, co-author of the book “Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World Of ESPN” – and already, his Twitter followers are taking bets on whether or not he’ll show up. Stay tuned.

Rams, Redskins, RG3 and… Rush?

The Washington Redskins traded four draft picks to the St. Louis Rams, in the hopes of drafting Robert Griffin III. But what if talk show host and former ESPN commentator Rush Limbaugh had been a part-owner of the Rams, as he had aspired to be back in 2009? With the recent Sandra Fluke controversy, would any teams have even fathomed a deal with the Rams?

Over the weekend, the Washington Redskins have agreed to a trade with the St. Louis Rams, giving them this year’s second overall pick in the NFL Draft, in exchange for their sixth and 39th overall picks in this year’s draft, plus their first-round draft picks in the next two years. With the deal, the Redskins effectively opt-out of the “Peyton Manning sweepstakes”, as the franchise has their sights set on Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III – provided the Indianapolis Colts don’t call an audible and grab Griffin themselves with the first overall draft pick, which the team is likely using for Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who would effectively replace Manning after fourteen seasons with the Colts.

The Redskins’ trade with the Rams, on paper, appears to be a coup for both teams: St. Louis, who had already drafted a quarterback two years ago in Sam Bradford, sensed that with two quarterbacks – Luck and Griffin, possibly in that order – projected to be drafted with the first two picks, they felt it was best to trade their pick away to a team that would best benefit from the services of “RG3”, while the Rams used the draft picks they would receive from said team to continue the rebuilding process.

And in “RG3,” the Redskins seem to have found the franchise quarterback they have needed since Joe Theismann took over under center in 1978, just as the league’s regular season tally expanded from 14 games to 16.

But imagine for a moment that this blockbuster trade may have never come into fruition. That’s right: there might have been a possibility that the Redskins, or any of the other NFL teams, for that matter, may have wished not to do business with the Rams for their second-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. All because of one man who had expressed interest in part-ownership of the franchise some two-and-a-half years ago: conservative talk radio titan Rush Limbaugh.

Georgia Frontiere, previous owner of the Rams, died in early 2008 due to complications from breast cancer. It was under her watch that the franchise moved from Los Angeles to her hometown of St. Louis in 1995. Prior to the 2008 season, Limbaugh, a native of Cape Girardeau, MO, which is just over 100 miles from St. Louis, expressed his interest in owning the Rams. “My desire to get involved [with NFL ownership] has not been a secret,” Limbaugh said at the time, adding that he knows “a lot of friends” in that capacity. And despite the Rams being located not too far from where he was born and raised, Limbaugh pleaded that such a move would be strictly “a business decision.”

Limbaugh’s desire to join the ranks of NFL ownership intensified in October 2009, when he announced that he would be joining a group led by St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts, who previously had been the president and CEO of Madison Square Garden through most of the 1990’s, in a bid for ownership of the Rams. This was met with much criticism, as several negative comments about the NFL from Limbaugh were resurfaced and rehashed ad nauseum, most notably his comparison of the league to “a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons” in 2007.

Also revisited was his ill-fated stint as commentator of “Sunday NFL Countdown” on ESPN in 2003. On the September 28, 2003 edition, the “Countdown” crew had been discussing the Philadelphia Eagles, who at the time were 0-2 – outscored 48-10 in the first two games at their then-new stadium, Lincoln Financial Field – and just coming off of a bye week. In those previous two games, quarterback Donovan McNabb had thrown for zero touchdowns and three interceptions, and was sacked a whopping ten times for a combined loss of 66 yards. This led Limbaugh to say about McNabb: “I’m sorry to say this, I don’t think he’s been that good from the get-go… I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well… he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t really deserve. The defense carried the team.”

Co-commentator Tom Jackson was quick to point out that McNabb had led the Eagles to “those championship games” in the previous two seasons – they had been eliminated by the Buccaneers in 2003, and the previous year, incidentally, by the Rams, both of which had advanced to and won Super Bowls in those years. “He has been a very effective quarterback for this football team over the last two or three years,” Jackson said of McNabb, “and they didn’t have any more talent then than they do now.” Limbaugh replied: “Oh, yes, they did: on defense… I think he got a lot of credit for the defensive side of the ball winning games for this team.”

Limbaugh also assured Jackson that McNabb was “a good investment” by the Eagles, but “I just don’t think he’s as good as everybody says he has been.” Fellow commentators Steve Young and Michael Irvin were not as dismissive on Limbaugh’s view as Jackson had been. “Don’t misunderstand,” said Limbaugh.

Whether or not the quarterback had “misunderstood” Limbaugh’s comments, McNabb spoke out about them in a newspaper interview: “It’s sad that you’ve got to go to skin color. I thought we were through with that whole deal.” This led to several athletes and noted Democratic figures, including civil rights activist Al Sharpton, dismissing Limbaugh’s comments about McNabb on ESPN, and an outfit known as the National Association of Black Journalists questioning “ESPN’s credibility as a journalism entity.” This led to ESPN issuing a statement on the night of Wednesday, October 1, 2003, announcing that they had informed Limbaugh that his comments about McNabb “were insensitive and inappropriate.”

Shortly after, Limbaugh would part ways with the Worldwide Leader, resigning his post on “Sunday NFL Countdown.”

Keep in mind that the next day, October 2, 2003, he would deliver the keynote speech at the annual National Assocation of Broadcasters convention – which just happened to be based in Philadelphia that year.

Fast forward six years, and ten days, later. In the wake of Limbaugh’s inclination to be part of a group making a bid for ownership of the St. Louis Rams, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, who is African-American, voiced his opposition of Limbaugh’s involvement with NFL ownership, saying his history of controversial comments that have been made, not only about McNabb on ESPN, but on his nationally syndicated radio show with roughly 600 affiliates – Rush has made no secret that he is not a fan of current U.S. President, Barack Obama – would mar the spirit of the NFL, which “overcomes division and rejects discrimination and hatred.”

Much like in 2003 after Limbaugh’s viewpoint on Donovan McNabb, several athletes did not take kindly to Limbaugh’s potential part-ownership of an NFL franchise. “Our players… know that there is an ugly part of history and we will not risk going backwards, giving up, giving in or lying down to it,” said Smith in 2009. “I am proud when they stand up, understand that this is their profession, and speak with candor and blunt honesty about how they feel.” The next day, the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, went on the record as saying Limbaugh’s comments, particularly about McNabb in 2003, were “divisive” and “polarizing,” and “would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL… Absolutely not.”

Make no mistake, Rush Limbaugh is a polarizing figure in the African-American community. It would be hard to fathom his involvement in the ownership of a team located in a city which, in 2010, roughly half of its population (49.2%) was African-American.

Shortly after Goodell voiced his displeasure in Limbaugh’s potential link to Rams ownership, Checketts had no choice but to shed Limbaugh from his ownership group. “It has become clear that his involvement in our group has become a complication and a distraction to our intentions,” Checketts said in a statement, adding that Limbaugh would have only been “a limited partner” who “would have had no say in the direction of the club or in any decisions regarding personnel or operations.” Checketts was optimistic that his group’s disassociation from Limbaugh would “eventually lead… to a successful conclusion” – that being, claiming ownership of the Rams franchise.

What appeared to be a strong desire by Checketts & Co. in the beginning of 2010 had fell by the wayside as the winter went on, and ownership of the team ultimately went to billionaire Stan Kroenke just prior to the start of the 2010-11 NFL season.

It’s clear that without Rush Limbaugh, the NFL is all the better for it.

But given the events of the last few weeks, I can’t help but wonder if: What if Rush Limbaugh was currently a part-owner of the St. Louis Rams? What if Rush Limbaugh had never been an employee of ESPN? What if Rush Limbaugh – as impossible as it may be to imagine – had never uttered a “divisive” thing about anyone or anything over the last 25 years?

It was on New Year’s Day 2012 that it was first reported on, ironically enough, ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” program, that junior quarterback Robert Griffin III of Baylor, just three weeks after winning the Heisman Trophy, was going to declare eligibility for the NFL Draft.

On February 24th, the Rams let it be known that they are willing to part with the second overall draft pick – for the right price. St. Louis, of course, is set at quarterback with Sam Bradford, so it’s not much of a necessity for them to draft Griffin.

The day before, on February 23rd, Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke had given testimony at a panel on Capitol Hill titled, “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” Fluke had spoken in favor of contraception being covered by health insurance plans offered by employers, including regilious institutions.

On February 29th, on his radio show, Limbaugh spoke out against Fluke’s support for a federal contraception mandate. “What does it say about the college coed… who goes before a Congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex?,” he asked his listeners. “What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.” Limbaugh further continued skewering Fluke for the remainder of the week, culminating with his March 1 show, in which he voiced a request for Fluke, in exchange for her plea for taxpayers footing the bill for contraceptives, “to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

The verbal attacks on Fluke were so brutal that she received a call from President Obama on Friday, March 2. Amid mounting criticism, Limbaugh posted an apology on his website the next day – but by then, the damage would just start to be done, as seven sponsors announced that they would pull their advertising from Limbaugh’s radio show over the weekend. Since then, the list continues to grow. Two radio stations in the “blue state” of Massachusetts and the island of Hawaii even canceled Limbaugh’s show. And just recently, a trio of women’s rights activists led by Gloria Steinem urged people to file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission so that they may revoke the licenses of hundreds of radio stations that air Limbaugh’s “toxic hate speech.”

In the span of ten days, Rush Limbaugh had been under much scrutiny for his comments about Sandra Fluke, and rightly so.

Now, take that all in, and imagine if, amidst all of this controversy, he was a part-owner of the St. Louis Rams.

A St. Louis Rams team that would be openly willing to wheel and deal the second overall draft pick to other NFL teams.

There’s a good chance that the Rams would have been left at the altar.

Regardless of how talented and highly touted Robert Griffin III may be, Rush Limbaugh’s mere existence on the Rams ownership board would have been front office kryptonite, with Limbaugh’s comments about Fluke tainting such a deal before it would even be proposed.

“Well, I’m terribly sorry about Mr. Limbaugh’s comments regarding Ms. Fluke, but… RG3! Come on!”

There would have been no takers. Not even the NFL team representing Washington – where Georgetown University is located – and President Barack Obama currently resides.

It could have been the second case of Rush Limbaugh being in the wrong place at the wrong time since 2003, after he quit his gig at ESPN over controversial comments about the quarterback of Philadelphia’s NFL team – right before he was to give a speech at a broadcasting convention in Philadelphia.

Things could have been far worse: Could you picture a part-Limbaugh-owned Rams team making the draft pick megadeal with the Redskins, and then going on the radio to defame Sandra Fluke as a “prostitute” and a “slut”? The Rams, the Redskins, the entire NFL starting with Roger Goodell – they would have to spend the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft trying to remove all of the egg from their faces. Those comments clearly would have been a distraction as all 32 teams prepare for the draft, with the conversation of “Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin?” being relegated to a sideshow.

A distraction similar to the one that sprung up when Limbaugh first expressed interest in ownership of the francise.

There’s no way that anybody with a pulse can condone Rush Limbaugh’s many “divisive comments” over the years.

In the case of Rush Limbaugh, the aspiring part-owner of an NFL team, however, it’s somewhat bittersweet that he has made such comments, only in that the NFL has swiftly denied access to him joining the league’s franchise owners, because of those comments.

Such unnecessary roughness on Sandra Fluke may have resulted from him being banned from the league.

One more serving of food for thought: Would Rush Limbaugh have made those comments about Sandra Fluke, comments that the average woman took offense to, if he had been part-owner of the St. Louis Rams, continuing a legacy of franchise ownership previously upheld by… a woman?

If Georgia Frontiere heard some of the things Rush Limbaugh has said, whether he owned the Rams or not, she might roll over in her grave.

Hump Start: NFL Moves 2012-13 Season Kickoff Game To Wednesday Night

Once again, the New York Giants find themselves in an interesting position: beginning their defense of their NFL championship a little earlier due to a conflict with an election convention. This year, the Giants will kick off the season on a Wednesday night, playing the first Wednesday NFL game since 1948.

Are you ready for some football? On a Wednesday?

As President Obama would say, yes, we can.

For the first time in 64 years, a regular season NFL game will be played on a Wednesday night – and it’ll be the very next NFL game, which opens the 2012-13 season.

And for the second time in five years, it’ll be at the expense of the World Champion New York Giants.

Here’s the deal: The game, which will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, home of the Giants, was originally scheduled, as has been the case for the past dozen years, on the first Thursday of September following Labor Day.

This year, that would be September 6. Incidentally, 2012 is an election year, and each election year, the Republican and Democratic National Committees have been hosting four-day conventions during the final week of August and first week of September, alternating each year. The final day of the convention – Thursday – is the crescendo which closes with a speech from the main candidate (or sitting President).

There was no conflict in 2004 because the Democratic convention was held in July of that year. However, in 2008, so as not to step on Republican nominee John McCain’s address, the NFL moved up the time of the season opener – also involving the Giants, who had won Super Bowl XLII – from an 8:30 PM (ET) start time to about a 7 PM kickoff. The ratings were decent, but apparently not decent enough to the point that the Giants will be playing another early Thursday night season opener.

So on Tuesday, the NFL decided to simply move the game to the previous night, Wednesday, September 5. It will be the first time since the fall of 1948 that a regular season NFL game would be played on a Wednesday. On that day, September 22, 1948, to be precise, the Detroit Lions lost to the Los Angeles Rams, en route to a 2-10 season; the Rams finished 6-5-1. (In case you’re wondering, the Philadelphia Eagles won the championship that year.)

This will be the second time in three years that a regular season NFL game will be played on an unorthodox day of the week. In late December 2010, a Sunday afternoon game involving the aforementioned Eagles was moved to Tuesday night due to extreme blizzard conditions in Philadelphia. The visiting Vikings – playing out the string a la the Asheville Tourists after a blizzard back home impounded the Metrodome – won the game behind the unlikely arm of Joe Webb.

The Giants’ first opponents of the 2012-13 season is still to be determined. In 2008, the Giants beat the Washington Redskins in the season opener. With politics once again coming into play in the Giants’ defense of their Lombardi trophy, don’t be surprised if the Giants once again square off against Washington on September 5; the start time will remain 8:30 PM ET. (The two teams have actually faced each other on the season opener for the last two years.)

And in case you’re wondering: no, the Giants don’t play the Chicago Bears this season, so that was not a factor in moving up the season opener to Wednesday to accommodate big-time Bears fan President Obama the following night.