Six things I learned about the making of the 2014 NFL schedule
Want to know how the NFL schedule sausage is made? Here's one report on some of what the schedule-makers go through.
I recommend you read the entire story, because it's pretty fascinating, but here are a few takeaways that caught my interest.
(Sadly, it's apparently no longer appropriate (or possible) for the commissioner of the league to figure out the schedule at home while he uses what looks like candy to figure out the logistics.)
NFL schedule release day circa 1959 w/ Commish Bell at his kitchen table in Philly area pic.twitter.com/2ULphsMotN— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) April 23, 2014
Anyway, here's what I learned:
1. This year, it took four men 10 weeks to sift through the 500,000 schedule possibilities.
2. The team had to navigate around six One Direction concerts in various cities this fall. Boy bands still rule, apparently.
3. The four men also were handcuffed by logistics for home games at the new 49ers stadium and by the temporary Vikings home at TCF Bank Stadium. That's why neither site is hosting a Monday night game.
4. The NFL almost forced the Seahawks to travel more than 11,000 miles in 15 days by giving them a three-game road trip, including a road game after a Monday night road game. That meant Seattle could have played at St. Louis on a Sunday, at Washington on a Monday and at Kansas City the next Sunday. Sounds somewhat unfair, no?
5. The crew also almost made the Chiefs play five road games in its first seven games of the season.
6. King writes about the pressure on the schedule-makers to give the Thursday night schedule plenty of intriguing matchups. If you'd like, here's how we ranked those Thursday night games.
And I loved the description by King in this paragraph:
Three hours before the schedule was announced Wednesday, there was a garbage can in one corner of the room overflowing with Vitamin Water bottles, Pepsi cans and Starbucks cups. Across the room: an industrial-strength shredder with the remnants of the schedules that didn’t make the cut. The NFL offices are white-glove tidy, but this place … not so much. As the four men of the schedule did their post-mortem, and shared it with The MMQB, it was a little gamey in the room. That’s what happens when four men and 40 computers work for 70 days to invent what they hope will be a 256-game masterpiece -- but which they know will bring charges of favoritism and cronyism from teams, TV networks and stadium operators.
A little gamey? Nice.
All in all, the schedule makers have a heavy burden every year, and here's the thing: hardly anybody is going to be complimentary.
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