2012 NFL Schedule has plenty for fans to look forward to

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NFL Football

With all the things that have already happened in this offseason in the NFL, it feels like the season never really ended. Between free agency, all the mock drafts, Peyton Manning going to the Broncos and the Saints scandal, football has never left the headlines.

Now the league has made more headlines after releasing the 2012 schedule of games and NFL fans have begun to drool at some of the match-ups. Here are some of the highlights of the 2012 NFL Schedule:

Defending Champs

One of the hardest things to do in sports is win a championship in consecutive years, but that is the task of the New York Giants this season. The Super Bowl champions will not have an easy road back to the big game because, based on the records of the 2012 opponents from last season, the G-Men will have the toughest schedule in the league. They get right down to it, too, when they host division rival Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, September 5, in the NFL season opener. Tough games against teams like the 49ers, Steelers, Saints and Ravens all await the Giants in 2012.

Turkey Day

For many people in the U.S., Thanksgiving is about three things: family, turkey, and football. Every year the NFL schedules a slate of games for Turkey Day and this year will feature some great games. The Detroit Lions will continue their tradition of playing on Thanksgiving and face the Houston Texans, who many believe could be a favorite to go to the Super Bowl. Following that, there will be a late afternoon game between the Dallas Cowboys and their NFC East rival, the Washington Redskins. But perhaps the most talked about game this Thanksgiving will be the prime-time match-up between bitter rivals New England Patriots and New York Jets.

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Best Super Bowl commercials of 2012

Since Tim already posted about the thing that happens in between all the great Super Bowl commercials, it's time to determine which of those great commercials were the best of the year. After much deliberation (read: not as much as you'd think) we've come up with our top five Super Bowl XLVI commercials. Check out our picks and then let us know if you think we missed any.

Volkswagen: The Bark Side

This has been one of our favorites since before the Super Bowl, since a teaser was released a few weeks ago. My personal favorites are the Princess Leia and Chewbacca dogs, which add a whole new layer to the spot. Such a creative and cute (and catchy) commercial!

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TicketNetwork February live events preview

February Events Image

It's easy to get stuck in the doldrums during the cold and cloudy winter, but how can you be sad when it's National Grapefruit Month? February may be the shortest month of the year, but there is still plenty going on (especially with the extra leap day!). Check out an overview below.

Concerts

Elton John: The legend is kicking off his Las Vegas residency on February 9, featuring lots of his greatest hits in "The Million Dollar Piano" show.

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Big Time Rush: The Nickelodeon boy band is touring the country this spring, beginning in Las Vegas on February 17.

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Van Halen: Rock fans will definitely not want to miss the latest tour of classic rock, featuring original front man David Lee Roth.

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Super Bowl XLVI: The thing between all the great commercials

When the New England Patriots and New York Giants meet each other for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, the world will be watching. Last year saw a record 111 million viewers tune in to the game between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, and many people think that number will be eclipsed this Sunday. Undoubtedly, the most asked question one week from today will be, "Did you see that game last night?!?"

For a lucky few, the answer to that question will be, "Yeah, I was there!"

Lucas Oil Stadium will be expanded to hold 68,000 for the Super Bowl (it normally seats 63,000 fans for Colts games) with most of the additional seating being for fans that won't really have a seat -- a.k.a. standing-room only. Even with the additional capacity, this year's game will have the lowest attendance of any Super Bowl venue of the last five years (see below), not because of a lack of interest, but because the stadium is just smaller. That means that tickets for the game are tougher to come by than in previous years.

Super Bowl Attendance

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Best and worst national anthem performances

You probably heard the ruckus over Steven Tyler's rendition of the national anthem at the AFC Championship game on Sunday. He drew a lot of criticism and speculation that his performance may have been the worst in Star Spangled Banner history. So we decided to compile a list of memorable anthem performances, roughly in order from worst to best. Enjoy!

Rosanne Barr, San Diego Padres game

This has to be the most painful performance of the national anthem ever. I have a hard time watching it all the way through, with her screechy voice, laughing in the middle and just overall disrespect for everyone at that game. Not the best time to try and be a comedienne.

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