From John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal comes an intriguing look at the manner in which the league’s six-day-old 2010 regular-season schedule came to be.
NFL scheduling chief Howard Katz told Ourand that 500,000 potential schedules were generated via computer, and that the field was reduced to 5,000 “playable” combinations of the 256-game slate. Then, once they settle on a possible schedule, they continued to look for better combinations.
“It’s almost like a bake-off,” Katz said.
One major potential complication arose from the fact that the decision to compete against Game 4 of the World Series required the league to select a matchup that most likely would not involve teams from baseball towns. Since New Orleans doesn’t have an MLB franchise, picking the defending Super Bowl champs to host the Sunday night game was a no-brainer. And given that the Pirates have been mired in a 17-year funk, it’s safe to say that they won’t be making the leap into the final stages of the postseason. Even if they somehow make it, the Steelers have tens of thousands of fans throughout the nation who don’t follow other Pittsburgh sports teams.
The various complications resulted in a delayed release of the schedule. In the end, however, the decision to pull the sheet off the finished product two days before the draft allowed the NFL to own the full sports week — to the further chagrin of baseball. And basketball. And hockey.