NFL Will Not Play This Weekend

The NFL will not play its 15 games this weekend following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

It said it was undecided whether to reschedule the games or go with a 15-game season.

"We in the National Football league have decided that our priorities for this weekend are to pause, grieve and reflect,'' commissioner Paul Tagliabue said in a statement. "It is a time to tend to families and neighbors and all those wounded by these horrific acts of terrorism.''

The postponement was the first for non-strike reasons by the NFL, which played two days after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963. Commissioner Pete Rozelle said that was the worst decision he made in 29 years in the job.

Tagliabue spent Thursday morning on a conference call with team owners to discuss the options. Afterward, he said: "A decision on whether to reschedule this weekend's games or play a 15-game season schedule is under consideration and will be announced as soon as possible.''

League officials said there were three possible options:

  • Play a 15-game schedule except for San Diego, which is off this weekend and would play 16 games. The players would lose a week's pay, something that Mara said Gene Upshaw, president of the NFL Players Union had agreed to. Union spokesman Carl Francis said the salary issue was still to be decided.
  • Play this week's game on the wild-card weekend, and cut the playoff wild-cards in each conference from three to one.
  • Juggle bye weeks to finish a 16-game schedule and leave the playoffs the same. This seemed to be the least likely option.