FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The NFL has moved up the start time of the New York Jets' Sept. 27 game against the Tennessee Titans after the team complained to the league about having to play two home contests on consecutive Jewish holidays.
The NFL made the change Friday, rescheduling the 4:15 p.m. start to 1 p.m. one day after Jets owner Woody Johnson sent a letter to league commissioner Roger Goodell suggesting the switch to allow fans to arrive home before sundown on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement.
"By changing the time of the Tennessee game from 4:15 p.m. to 1 p.m., the NFL has provided the best compromise to resolve our scheduling conflict," Johnson said in a statement issued by the league. He also thanked Goodell and Howard Katz, the league's senior vice president of broadcasting and media operations, for their prompt response to the matter.
Jets officials first called the league office Wednesday to express their concerns, and Johnson followed with a formal letter Thursday.
In the letter to Goodell, Johnson wrote: "There has long been an understanding that neither the Jets nor the Giants fans should have to bear completely the brunt of this issue since we are in the largest Jewish market in the country."
Rep. Anthony Weiner, a U.S. congressman who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, also sent a letter to Goodell on Friday urging the league to accommodate the Jets' Jewish fans.
"This commonsense solution is a win for everyone involved," Weiner said, praising the league's decision. "The NFL can maximize the greatest audience while Jewish New York Jets fans can support their team and respect their religion."
As a result of the schedule change, the Titans-Jets and Giants-Buccaneers games will be televised head-to-head on different networks. The Giants are on the road for both Jewish holidays, with a game at Dallas at 8:20 p.m. in Week 2 and the game at Tampa Bay the following Sunday.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press