The League

Peter Schaffer
NFL Agent

Peter Schaffer

Agent and professor of sports law

Cowboys, Panthers

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The release of the 2009 NFL schedule Tuesday allows all of its fans to finally plan their fall vacations and viewing schedules; which is nice. It also gives us a glimpse into the teams whose fortunes will be determined prior to Flag Day or in NFL lingo, after the teams fourth game of the regular season. From a cursory look at the 2009 schedule, four teams were not graced with the easiest paths to the 2010 NFL super bowl, the Chiefs, Cowboys, Panthers and Buccaneers. In essence, the schedule makers may have sealed the fate of one Wade Phillips even prior to the season starting.

The great thing however about the NFL is that as the legendary and late Vince Lombardi said, "On any given Sunday any team can win." Prognosticating about teams' futures 6 months out, let alone one week out, has as much reliability as picking heads on a coin toss. This is what makes the NFL so exciting every week and every year; one never knows who is a lock to win. For example, I remember a few years back when the great and pro bowl linebacker and client of mine, Chad Brown, was trying to select which team he was going to play for as an unrestricted free agent. It was down to three teams all with legendary and future hall of fame coaches, the Seahawks (Holmgren), the Steelers (Cowher) and the Patriots (Belichick). Of Course, Chad selected the Patriots based on both of our true beliefs that the Patriots were a lock not only to play in the Super bowl but win the game and cap off Chad's illustrious career with the one thing he had not achieved, a ring. And of course, that was the year that the Steelers defeated the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.

Determining difficulty of schedule requires at least a modicum of an objective criteria and the one selected here is the number of playoff teams that have improved themselves this off-season that are on the schedule. Given this criteria, the schedule makers have not shined the bright light of fortune on the Cowboys and Panthers.

The Panthers are charged with facing the Eagles, Falcons, Cowboys and Redskins, right off the bat. All tough, physical teams. Similarly the Cowboys face the Bucs, Giants, Broncos and Panthers in their first four matches. . These four games might just seal the fate of one of the truly gentleman and nicest people ever to work in the NFL, Wade Phillips which is truly a shame.

However as said earlier in this piece, my abilities to predict correctly are seriously limited to conjecture and guess and the probabilities of any of these predictions coming true are roughly the same as my shooting a sub par round of golf this weekend. The one thing that is certain is that the tougher the test the better the game to watch which benefits all fans of the league.

By Peter Schaffer  |  April 15, 2009; 10:50 AM ET  | Category:  Carolina Panthers , Dallas Cowboys , NFL , Peter Schaffer Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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