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NFL scheduling process gets more complicated

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.

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14 Responses to “NFL scheduling process gets more complicated”
  1. Tomthebombtracy says: Apr 26, 2010 9:59 AM

    If the NFL moves to a 17 or 18 game schedule, it would seem that the natural formula of which teams play which divisions and which opponents may no longer be entrirely workable.
    That’s when the TV ratings conscious league could institute a 17th game glamour game. Maybe it’s an automatic rematch of the the Super Bowl teams from the year previous. Maybe it’s the Giants-Jets, Oakland-San Fran, Dallas-Houston….in years they don’t already play.

  2. Larry David says: Apr 26, 2010 9:59 AM

    If you can count on one thing in sports, it’s that the Pirates won’t be playing in the World Series anytime soon. Hilarious.

  3. hineswardcriesafterfumbling says: Apr 26, 2010 10:00 AM

    “the Steelers have tens of thousands of fans throughout the nation who don’t follow other Pittsburgh sports teams, because they’re bandwagon jumpers are are likely ‘fans’ of the yankees/redsox.”

  4. Huckle says: Apr 26, 2010 10:02 AM

    So a computer saw fit to give a team who, last year, was third in their division, got swept by the Bengals, and did not make the playoffs, get 5 primetime games.
    All after any suspensions of their rapist QB.
    I call shenanigans on this BS. Katz is a horrible liar.

  5. DanSnyderSux says: Apr 26, 2010 10:13 AM

    Huckle, in spite of what Ben did (or didn’t) do, the Steelers are still one of the NFL’s most popular teams. Think of all those down years the Cowboys had, yet still managed to find themselves on national TV quite a bit.

  6. J-Star says: Apr 26, 2010 10:18 AM

    and they expect us to think the schedule wasnt changed so the Steelers would play all there weak opponents on the first 6 weeks when Big Ben is suspended. I guess the computer just happened to do that right?

  7. penguininbondage says: Apr 26, 2010 10:23 AM

    Bert Bell did the schedule by hand on an Acme bag each year.

  8. ccoolahan14 says: Apr 26, 2010 10:25 AM

    “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.”
    Yeah, they’re called bandwagon fans…The league rigs Steelers games for a reason.

  9. mrlaloosh says: Apr 26, 2010 10:42 AM

    WOAH! Sunday HALLOWEEN NIGHT in the Superdome pitting the last two Super Bowl champs!
    Now THIS will be a party!!
    The Saints will pealay the Steelers!
    WHO DAT!!
    The Steelers will have many fans in New Orleans for this event. They manage to have huge numbers of fans at every road game no matter what.
    The are the true AMERICAS TEAM. Not the Cowgirls.

  10. stan26 says: Apr 26, 2010 10:45 AM

    Thought there was a league rule, written or unwritten, that every team gets at least one prime time game?
    Didn’t happen this year.

  11. tdirr123 says: Apr 26, 2010 10:56 AM

    stan, that never happens… you always have 4-6 teams without a single primetime game.

  12. footballtalk247 says: Apr 26, 2010 11:13 AM

    stan26 is confusing the NFL prime time schedule with the MLB All-star roster rule.
    Don’t worry, we all do that from time to time.
    Or not.

  13. jefbob says: Apr 26, 2010 11:23 AM

    “The various complications resulted in a delayed release of the schedule.”
    Like the need to rearrange the Steelers schedule so that they had the fewest tough games as possible while Ben was suspended. It is quite suspicious that the schedule came out late this year out of all the years.

  14. staff infection says: Apr 26, 2010 1:01 PM

    @steelerdynasty
    TV ratings = huge money for the nfl.
    Steelers make a lot of money for the nfl, nfl helps them out with an easy start to the season while ben is out.
    either way, steeler fans r mostly douchebags. Just get ready to relinquish your spot atop the league to the lions in a couple years.
    RESTORE THE ROAR

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