Blog Entry

A New Way To Do the NFL Schedule

Posted on: March 24, 2009 11:35 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2009 11:41 pm

 It has been announced that the Steelers will host the Titans in the opening game for the NFL season on September 10, 2009.  I was hoping it would be the Ravens for several reasons not to take anything away from the Titans, in what they did last year and can possibly do this season as they will definitely be a playoffs favorite before the season begins.  However the reason I was hoping Baltimore would be the opening opponent at Heinz Field had several reasons, they played the AFC Title game against them, when they play it will be a hard hitting game, so 10 days rest between games would had been nice, but most of all I believe the first three games for each team should be against a divisional opponent.  The Ravens playing at Pittsburgh week one would had accomplished at least one divisional game vs a divisional opponent, not to say the NFL would had the Browns and Bengals next on the schedule.  I'm going to make a mock schedule using the Steelers and try and explain out my idea the best way I can. Trust me I will try and explain this out to keep confusion down for anyone who reads this as it could be somewhat complicated.

So first three weeks the Steelers since they got the mandantory home game to open would had hosted the Ravens.  Afterward they would had went to the Browns and then hosted the Bengals.  That would mean AFC North wise week one would had been Browns at Bengals and week 2 Bengals at Ravens and week 3 Ravens at Browns.  Each team meets each other in the division once as usually coming out of camp that is the healthiest an NFL team will be all year, so why not line them up against each other at about their fullest strength.  This means all NFC East, AFC East and all the other divisions play just divisional play first three weeks.

Week four would be one of the two uncommon opponent weeks.  By this I mean one of the two teams the Steelers play that the Ravens, Browns, and Bengals do not face.  This year the AFC North will play each other twice, once vs the NFC North and once vs the AFC West.  So the Steelers play one team from the AFC South and East.  This would be the week the Steelers host the Titans and the rest of the North would host an AFC South team. 

Weeks 5 and 6 would be two of the AFC West games the Steelers would play.  One would be on the road, other at home.  Week 5 would be at the Broncos and week 6 vs the Raiders.

Weeks 7-11 would be all 4 NFC opponents and the bye.  Weeks 7 and 8 would be one road game and one home game.  The Steelers would go to the Lions week 7, host the Vikings week 8. Week 9 for the following:  the AFC North, NFC North, AFC West and NFC East would have their bye.  Week 8, the AFC East, AFC South, NFC South and NFC West would have their bye.  Sure 16 teams for two weeks would limit the league to having only eight games for those two weeks, however this would feature teams pretty much nationally that rarely get that kind of exposure and it allows all teams to get their bye midway through the season and not penalizing good teams like last year both the Superbowl teams from the year before the Patriots and Giants had the week 4 bye, that is not right.

Weeks 10 and 11 Steelers finish the NFC playing at the Bears and the hosting the Packers

Week 12 the Steelers would play their second uncommon opponent going to the Dolphins.

Weeks 13 and 14 the Steelers would finish their AFC West schedule going to the Chiefs and hosting the Chargers.

The final three weeks of the season would be a reverse of weeks 1-3.  The Steelers would play at the Bengals week 15, host the Browns week 16 and then go to the Ravens week 17.  Most divisions have not been wrapped up by a team going into week 15 so this would leave it to the divisonal opponents to decide it themselves.  Also the final three weeks of the season if you are playoff bound you usually know what you have going in be it injury wise, and these three weeks you should be playing your best ball of the season so why not play that against divisional opponents.  So here would be the Steelers schedule for this up and comping season and picture just placing your team in and their respected common and two uncommon opponents they will face this year.

Week 1, vs Ravens; Week 2 at Browns, Week 3 vs Bengals, Week 4 vs Titans, Week 5 at Broncos, Week 6 vs Raiders, Week 7 at Lions, Week 8 vs Vikings, Week 9 bye, Week 10 at Bears, Week 11 vs Packers, Week 12 at Dolphins,  Week 13 at Chiefs, Week 14 vs Chargers,  Week 15 at Bengals, Week 16 vs Browns, and Week 17 at Ravens. 

Notice no three game road trips in a row, and no three game homestands.  Only a two game homestand and two games where the Steelers would have to travel in a row away from home.  Otherwise it is a home game then a road game and so on.  It could possibly work out where a team would have to play three road games and three home games in a row either going into or coming out of divisional play but that would be the only time and would affect limited teams.  Just an idea to kick around would like to hear any feedback on what you like or hate about the current computer generated NFL schedule and how do you like how your team it seems gets the same by week each year.  The Steelers it seems always have had their bye before week 6 and coming off the Superbowl win, they are pretty much a lock to have the week 4 bye this year.






Category: NFL

Since: Apr 10, 2007
Posted on: March 31, 2009 9:14 pm

A New Way To Do the NFL Schedule

Excellent theory and definitely way more thought put into the process than most of the other published revision proposals I've read.  And I totally think it's a great idea.  I mean, fantasy-wise, only two bye weeks for the season to deal with would be like a dream come true (but more on that later)!

A uniform schedule for all clubs and divisions is something that the fans and NFL seem to desire, especially in light of the way they organized it when Houston's Texans came on board about '02 and they went to the eight-division structure.

I think the only obstacle is the 800-pound gorilla in the room: THE TV NETWORKS.

Having even more uniformity and rigidity in the schedule would reduce their flexibility to cherry-pick the best games for their prime time slots.

People might ask how would this schedule prevent the networks from doing that?  Well it seems too rigid to force teams to play within their division for the same six out of 16 weeks; that's over a third --37.5%-- of the season.  Those are all REGIONALLY-interesting games, but the networks need to schedule games of NATIONAL interest EVERY week to maximize their massive investments in NFL broadcast rights.  That would seem a difficult task to satisfy ESPN, NBC, FOX and CBS on those six weeks.  I mean, we'd never see a juicy "potential Super Bowl" inter-conference matchup the final three weeks of the season?  Think Giants-Pats last weekend of '07!!  That can't happen again under the proposal.

And then the bye week issue.  Yes for fans we would love only having two of them.  But having them fall in weeks 8-9, which is as soon as the baseball season ends...doesn't seem like a good idea to have 16 teams parked those weeks in late October/early November when casual fans pick up their interest in the league as the days get colder and shorter.  The networks would never cave on the ratings in 16 markets those two weeks.  They prefer losing the interest in a handful of cities or less spread out over the season.  I mean, I ALWAYS play golf the Sunday of the Steelers bye week and rarely watch a complete NFL game that day, and I think a good chunk of fans of most teams view their bye week as "the Sunday when I do something other than veg and watch games."  Moreover, if all East teams are parked one week, then no teams in New York are playing?  The largest market in the country HAS to have one of its teams in action every week---moreover because they share a stadium, something the 49ers and Raiders might be doing in the coming years as well.  Those two buildings would need to have a game every Sunday in order to fit in eight home games for two clubs.  Granted, you are proposing they take their bye weeks at the same time, but like I said, the networks would never agree to that, and it creates a very tough path for the schedule-maker the other 16 weeks.

All in all, it's a great theory, and something I'm sure the fans and league would embrace.  But like with most ideas to reform sports these days, the final say always rests in the minds of TV network executives.


Since: Jan 13, 2008
Posted on: March 25, 2009 12:01 am

A New Way To Do the NFL Schedule

I really think your proposed schedule is great and well thought out.  I like the idea of the Steelers playing their divisional opponents in the first 3 weeks of the season.  They may never be as healthy as they'll be during those 3 games.  However, I am totally in favor of playing the Titans in Pittsburgh for the opener.  I believe it's justice to have Tennessee see the Super Bowl XLIII Champions banner raised at Heinz Field.  I usually don't have sour grapes, but Fatdale White stomping on the Terrible Towel just didn't sit with me.  Again, let me say great work on your proposed schedule.

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