The release of the NFL schedule has become much more than an announcement with a long list of football games to be played in the future. It’s become a full-blown spectacle, with a three- or four-hour television program planned around it on multiple networks. This despite everyone already knowing the opponents involved, with those released much earlier in the year.

This year, we’ve got a target date for the release of the schedule. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the NFL wants to release the schedule during the week of April 17-21.

The 2016 NFL schedule dropped on a Thursday night (Thursday, April 14 to be exact) last year, so it’s not unreasonable to target Thursday, April 20 as a solid day for the schedule to be released. 

That’s exactly one week before the 2017 NFL Draft kicks off, which means that the NFL will have essentially taken up two weeks in April, helping to achieve its goal of dominating the calendar almost year round.

Last year, the NFL also released the preseason schedule on April 7, so there’s another week (or at least several days) where people aren’t talking about anything other than the NFL. 

That’s also just a week or two from now, which means the NFL could be working on finalizing the preseason schedule for release pretty soon and then targeting the actual full schedule for later in April. 

All this hinges on the geniuses (seriously, imagine juggling all those items) in the NFL scheduling department hammering out the schedule in time, but if that happens, look for late April to be the date when we find out the full 2017 NFL schedule.