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Welcome to Schedule Release Day at the NFL

We know which teams face off on the schedule. We don't know when they are going to play. We are going to find out tonight, and oddly can't wait. 

This isn't Christmas morning at the NFL offices, but it's the day we find out what presents will be there Christmas morning.

This is the event above all others that helps explain the NFL's popularity to outsiders. I used to think that event was the scouting combine, which has grown from an event only draftniks cared about to a week-long source of breaking news.

"Wait, people watch them run in straight lines on television?" my wife asked years ago.

Oh yes. But the combine events are over by the early afternoon. The events in Indianapolis take place on a football field, even if they aren't exactly playing football. This is different. This is prime time.

The NFL Network go live at 7 p.m. ET for three hours of dueling schedule release coverage. This feels gluttonous, the definition of overkill. But it's on air that long for a reason: We will all gladly consume it.

Around the League and the rest of NFL.com will cover the schedule release tonight from every angle possible. Then we'll try to think of some more. 

There's something about knowing the matchups. It got my blood flowing when I learned about the Giants-Cowboys opener. My thoughts turned to the pressure on Tony Romo. My thoughts turned to the field.

In the back of my head, I know it's a little silly the schedule release is such an Event. But I feel the same way now as I did before I wrote about football for a living, before I started wearing a tie every day to go in to the league offices: I'm powerless to stop my interest. 

I want to know what games I'm unwrapping in 2012, and when I'm unwrapping them.

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