At a time when Seahawks fans may be rightfully grousing about the lack of prime-time home games beyond Week One (that’s what happens when Oliver Reed’s advice from Gladiator is ignored), it could be worse.
Peter King of TheMMQB.com explains that the runner-up to the final schedule had the defending champions playing three road games in a row, with trips to St. Louis, Washington, and Kansas City.
The game at FedEx Field would have occurred on a Monday night, requiring the Seahawks to play only six days later at Arrowhead Stadium.
Per King, that’s 11,010 air miles over a 15-day stretch. It’s quite possible, if not likely, that the Seahawks would have dipped into owner Paul Allen’s vast resources and set up shop somewhere east of the Mississippi for all or part of the fortnight plus a day away from the Pacific Northwest.
Still, extra days away from home would have been an extra burden for a team that already has plenty of schedule disruptions, thanks to its status as the defending NFL champions.
NFL senior V.P./broadcasting Howard Katz admitted that, absent a better schedule, the league quite possibly would have gone with that one.
“I think so,” Katz told King. “We didn’t want to. We were hopeful that we’d find a better one. I think we would have, and we did. If we had to play it, I think we would have had an interesting discussion with Roger [Goodell] about it. We had many interesting discussions in this room about it — whether it was a fatal flaw or not. I didn’t deem it fatal, but we were hoping we could find a way out of it.”
They ultimately did, balancing the various conflicts and other factors and sifting through more than 500,000 possible schedules and coming up with a winner after Katz and three others (NFL V.P./broadcating Onnie Bose, NFL senior manager of broadcasting Jonathan Payne, and NFL senior director of broadcasting Michael North) spent 70 days working hard to come up with a winner.
It’s in many ways a thankless job, with inevitable criticism no matter how much time and effort is spent to make the process as fair as possible for all 32 teams. And the criticism will come from fans or players or front offices that don’t like one thing or another about a given team’s schedule. Last year, the Bills complained about facing too many teams coming off of bye weeks; it’s likely only a matter of time before someone gripes about that this year.
Actually, since the draft should be today but have been moved back two weeks, that will be our next schedule-related project.