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The good news for Oakland Raiders fans is that this year, the Raiders won't ever be getting blown out before a national television audience. This bad news is that this year, the Raiders will not be playing any games before a national television audience.
The 2010 NFL regular season schedule was released Tuesday. While the Raiders' schedule doesn't have any national tv games, the 49ers' schedule has five -- count 'em -- five appearances on Sunday nights, Monday nights, Thursday nights, or in London's Wembley Stadium as the marquee early game.
The 49ers get a choice Week 2 Monday Nighter as their home opener, facing the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints at 5:30 p.m. PDT at Candlestick Park on Monday, September 20.
The Raiders' home opener is Sunday, September 19 at 1:05 at the Coliseum against the hapless St. Louis Rams. Monday Night Football against a storied rival, it ain't.
Technically speaking, Raiders fans, "flex scheduling" takes effect on November 28. Therefore, if the Dolphins, Chargers, Jaguars, Broncos, Colts, or Chiefs games becomes significant, then these games are likely to be moved to NBC's "Sunday Night Football".
"Likely", just like I am "likely" to be Scarlett Johansson, hiding behind your computer and about to jump out and shower you with $100 bills and make-out sessions until the day the regular season begins.
Both the 49ers and Raiders teams open on the road the week before, on September 12. The Niners face the new-look Pete Carroll Seahawks, while the Raiders travel to Tennessee to face the Titans.
The 49ers' bye falls the week before, on November 7, the day of "fall back" to Pacific Standard Time and also the running of the US Half Marathon on the Golden Gate Bridge. People, there are options!
But add in the Monday Nighter against the Saints, a "Sunday Night Football" match up with the Eagles on October 10, a Monday Nighter in Arizona on November 29, and a Thursday Night affair at the Chargers on December 16, and you have five national games for these Niners in 2010.
Meanwhile, Raiders fans enjoyed their own personal next generation iPhone in a bar moment early in the day Tuesday, when a piece of the Raiders' schedule was accidentally posted online.
Pittsburgh radio station WDVE posted the Steelers' 2010 schedule, and ProFootballTalk.com pounced on it before those careless western Pennsylvanians at the radio home of the Steelers realized what they'd done. And that's how America discovered that the Raiders face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh on November 21, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. PST.
Another change this year? In the last week of the season, everyone plays a division rival. The Raiders face the Chiefs on the road and the 49ers close at home against the Cardinals.
"We think this will have a meaningful impact on the approach to late season games," Commissioner Goodell said in an NFL.com chat, just hours before the schedule was released. The change is in response to some fans' disappointment with divisional champions resting their starters in the final weeks.
That would not be a problem in the Bay Area, Commissioner Goodell. We'd be doing naked cartwheels through the MoMA over any "consequences" of having the division championship wrapped up by Week 17.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who forgot to mention that these two teams play one another on October 17 at 1:05 PDT on CBS.