Key off-season dates on the NFL calendar
As the clock struck "00:00" in New Orleans, the Baltimore Ravens danced amid falling confetti inside the Superdome as winners of Super Bowl 47. And just like that, another NFL season has come to an end. Fear not, fans of the pigskin, while you may not be able to watch another live game until August, there are plenty of events on the NFL calendar that will help make the time pass.
Below are some key dates to be mindful of, all in anticipation of September 5, 2013, when the Baltimore Ravens host the New England Patriots (that's my guess anyway).
February 9-10 -- Regional Combine, Los Angeles, California
February 16 -- Regional Combine, Houston, Texas
February 17 -- Regional Combine, Cleveland Browns Training Facility, Cleveland, Ohio
February 20-26 -- Combine Timing and Testing, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
March 2-3 -- Regional Combine, New York/New Jersey
March 9 -- Regional Combine, Tampa, Florida
March 10 -- Regional Combine, Chicago, Illinois
March 9-11 -- Clubs are permitted to enter into contract negotiations with certified agents of players who will be Unrestricted Free Agents at the end of the current League Year.
March 12 -- Prior to 4:00 p.m. eastern time, clubs must exercise options for 2013 on all players who have option clauses in their 2012 contracts.
March 12 -- Prior to 4:00 p.m. eastern time, clubs must submit Qualifying Offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.
March 12 -- Prior to 4:00 p.m., eastern time, clubs must submit a minimum salary offer to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2012 contracts and who have fewer than three seasons of free agency credit.
March 12 -- All 2012 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m. eastern time.
March 12 -- All clubs must be under the Salary Cap prior to 4:00 p.m. eastern time.
March 12 -- The 2013 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m. eastern time.
March 12 -- Trading period begins at 4:00 p.m. eastern time.
March 16-17 -- Regional Combine, Atlanta, Georgia
March 17-20 -- Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.
March 23-24 -- Regional Combine, Seattle, Washington
March 23-24 -- Regional Combine, Baltimore, Maryland
April 7-8 -- Super Regional Combine, Dallas, Texas
April 25-27 -- NFL Draft, New York City, New York.
May 20-22 -- NFL Spring League Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts.
Mid-July -- NFL training camps begin
September 5, 8-9 -- NFL regular season, week 1