Over at the LA Times, Sam Farmer wrote a fascinating article about the NFL’s schedule-making process.

In the article, Farmer gives readers an interesting look at how the schedule is made, the various guidelines that need to be followed, and how requests from teams are dealt with.

There’s also a brief anecdote told by NFL SVP of broadcasting Howard Katz about why the schedule is released as late as it is, and how one player forced the league to change their scheduling strategy twice. That player was, of course, Tom Brady.

The movement of players matters too. That’s why the schedule isn’t announced until after the draft, as a new influx of players can make matchups considerably more interesting. Denver got more intriguing with the addition of Russell Wilson. Same for Miami with Tyreek Hill and Indianapolis with Matt Ryan.

“When Tom Brady retired, we were concerned about the strength of the NFC package because there were so many terrific Tampa Bay games we were looking at,” Katz said.

“Then a month later he un-retires and we sort of started all over again.”

It makes sense, right? A thoroughly mediocre Broncos team starting Drew Lock is a hell of a lot less appealing than a Broncos team starting Russell Wilson, and those interdivisional games with the Chiefs, Raiders, and Chargers suddenly look far more appealing for primetime or national games of the week.

The Brady factor is probably underrated when it comes to making the schedules, because his presence turns the Bucs into one of the most-desired teams for networks, and one of the NFL’s top draws. Similarly, if Brady ended up leaving the Bucs and going elsewhere (perhaps the Dolphins, as had been rumored earlier this offseason), the blue chip scheduling status of not one, but two teams would have been dramatically shifted.

Overall, the scheduling process is quite interesting to me, and I can’t imagine what a headache it must be to make sure each of those guidelines and requests is honored the best they can.

[LA Times]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.