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NFL Schedule Allows For Three Week Lockout Buffer

The 2011 NFL schedule was released this week which caused some fans to wonder how the league could release a schedule for a season that, with the NFL lockout, doesn't currently exist. Nevertheless, the league needed to make plans for the 2011 season so they released the schedule last Tuesday.

They also included in the schedule a lockout plan. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the league has done several things on the schedule to prepare for a lockout.

First, every opponent in Week 3 has the same bye week later in the season. This means that if a lockout affects the season, they can make up at least one game later in the season during the scheduled bye week.

Second, the NFL can eliminate the one of the two weeks between the conference championships and the Super Bowl picking up another week in case of a lockout.

Third, the NFL has booked rooms at the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis for two weeks. This means they can push the Super Bowl back from Feb. 5 to Feb. 12. 

That's three weeks the league can gain just from the way the schedule was constructed. So, the season really needs to start by Oct. 2 in order for no games to be compromised.