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Thursday, July 21, 2011
Commish for a day: Wake up, smell the bias

By Mike Sando

NFC: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Our divisional bloggers discuss one thing they'd change as commissioner for a day:

Serving as NFL commissioner for one day would have its perks, such as not holding the job for the other 364 days in the year.

Roger Goodell has cut his pay to $1 this year amid labor turmoil. He's become a reviled figure among players -- "Fraud-ger" to some.

Give me his job for a day and I'd stand up for the West Coast. Those 10 a.m. PT kickoffs we've complained about for years would fly away forever. I'd level the playing field for teams traveling West to East.

This isn't complicated stuff. Guys were writing about it in Alaska science forums more than 15 years ago.

NFC West teams have repeatedly asked the league to give them 1 p.m. PT kickoffs for games they play in the Eastern time zone.

West Coast players naturally have a harder time when forced to wake up at 5 or 6 a.m. PT on game days.

"From having been an East Coast team that played in the NFC West when I played for Atlanta, it was much easier going East to West than it is going West to East," Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said earlier this year.

The league took action quickly when the New England Patriots complained about playing two games on the West Coast in succession several years ago. Owners voted to change the scheduling rotation so that Eastern teams drawing Western divisions in the rotation would not visit San Diego and Oakland or Seattle and San Francisco in the same season.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals are scheduled to play six road games this season at 10 or 11 a.m. Phoenix time. The 49ers and Seattle Seahawks each play five road games kicking off at 10 a.m. PT.

"We need to come together as a group of West Coast teams," San Francisco 49ers president Jed York said back in 2009.

That, or make me commissioner for a day. I'll even waive the $1 salary.