NEW YORK — The NFL says it does not have a deadline for canceling games if negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement continue to drag on.
"We don't have a date by which the season is lost or a date by which we have to move from 16 games to some other (number)," Eric Grubman, the league's executive vice president for business operations, said Friday. "Our intentions are to play a full season, and we will pull every lever that we can within the flexibility we have or can identify to make that happen."
Even during the lockout, Grubman said, the NFL and teams are working so they will be ready to start the season quickly once a deal is reached.
"We have to be able to figure out: When you turn the key, is the gas going to flow?" he said. "Is everything going to work?"
The 2011 schedule, released Tuesday, has games beginning Sept. 8 but includes room to maneuver.
No division games are set for Weeks 2 and 4. (The Elias Sports Bureau said there has not been a week without a division game since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970). Furthermore, the 16 teams that are home in Week 2 are the same 16 teams on the road in Week 4. So a 14-game schedule could be crafted with each team playing seven home games, seven road games and six division games.
In addition, the league could scrap bye weeks and the week off between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.
Finally, the league has a deal with the city of Indianapolis to hold the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 or 12 stemming from the earlier possibility of an 18-game regular season.
Pay cut: All league employees have taken a 12 percent pay cut since the lockout began, New York's Newsday reported. Commissioner Roger Goodell, as he previously said he would, is making $1.