San Francisco 49ers fans are so desperately jonesing for team news that now we're just blogging gossip about Alex Smith's minicamp mechanics. But an exciting off-season milestone drops this evening, as NFL teams will be assigned their 2009 regular season schedules. And this year, you can know the 49ers schedule when it is released immediately by getting it on line or off a live broadcast on the NFL Network.
The NFL is trying to turn today's relase of teams' 2009 schedules into a big, overproduced online and televison carnival event. And because they've got us by the short and curlies, many fans like me are happy to set aside time for that. The schedules will be released as part of a special episode tonight of the NFL Network's "NFL Total Access", and NFL.com will be posting online team-by-team schedules "right away" as they are announced. They'll also be hosting chat rooms, fan forums, and "instant" analysis from league big-wigs who frankly already totally know what these schedules are.
Schedules will even be made available in printer-friendly formats, so you can jam up the company printers with 49ers schedules.
The fun starts at 4 p.m. Pacific Time today. If you can't be at a televison equipped with the NFL Network, you can just catch the info as it's posted to NFL.com.
Of course, we already know which teams we're playing. That's determined via a formula, and Niners Nation can totally tell you every single team we're going to play, home and away. They can also totally tell you what the strength-of-schedule looks like based on last season's records, and we're pleased to find that's it not very strong. The combined strength-of-schedule of our opponents is .443, which is to say that their combined win-loss record is below .500. For a 7-9 team like us, that's encouraging!
But it will still be a hoot to find out on what dates these games will be played, their times, and which ones will be on national televison. Because in the era of the NFL Network, even 7-9 teams can get in a few nationally televised games.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is responsible for that stack of 49ers schedules sitting in the shared printer.