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Monday, March 23, 2009
No relief for West Coast teams heading east


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

DANA POINT, Calif. -- West Coast teams were entitled to a collective roll of the eyes when NFL owners passed a resolution sparing East Coast teams from hardships associated with playing on the West Coast.

The Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals, Raiders and Chargers have long dreaded playing East Coast games with 10 a.m. PT kickoff times. From their perspective, the rest of the league has largely shrugged. But after the Patriots faced back-to-back road games on the West Coast last season, owners acted decisively to fix the injustice Monday.

Owners passed a resolution adjusting the scheduling rotation so that teams drawing the AFC West and NFC West would not play San Diego and Oakland in the same season or Seattle and San Francisco in the same season.

"I understand the inequity of the Patriots playing two games back-to-back on the West Coast," 49ers president Jed York said. "We need to come together as a group of West Coast teams. You've got [five] teams that are literally traveling 3,000 miles for one game two or three times a year. If it is playing a later game, I think it makes sense."

Even though owners didn't vote on the West Coast teams' concerns, the league could still allay some of their protests by reducing those 10 a.m. PT kickoffs when feasible. The NFL generally releases its schedule within the first two weeks of April.

York joined Cardinals president Michael Bidwill and Raiders executive Amy Trask in lobbying for owners to consider their concerns.

"We always had 4 p.m. games growing up in Ohio," York said. "I still can't get used to watching Notre Dame playing at 9:30 a.m. It's just weird, very weird."

The resolution passed Monday was worded this way:

Be it resolved that commencing with the 2010 NFL season, the League Office will realign the pairings of teams within the AFC West and NFC West as follows:

Denver and Oakland will be paired together and Kansas City and San Diego will be paired together so that teams within a division playing games against the AFC West will have either:

(a) road games against Denver and Oakland and homes games against Kansas City and San Diego, or,

(b) road games against Kansas City and San Diego and home games against Denver and Oakland.

Arizona and San Francisco will be paired together and St. Louis and Seattle will be paired together so that teams within a division playing games against the NFC West will have either:

(a) road games against Arizona and San Francisco and homes games against St. Louis and Seattle, or,

(b) road games against St. Louis and Seattle and home games against Arizona and San Francisco.