As we wait with
baited bated breath (or, as the case may be, peanut butter and coffee breath) for the official 2009 schedule to officially be released, officially, we’ve had a chance to digest some key background information about the schedule-making process that the league has disseminated.
Here are the highlights of information that the league office communicated earlier today to the 32 clubs, and to some members of the media (and the occasional Internet slapdick like, you know, me).
The league approached the process with a goal of creating a “competitively fair and equitable schedule” for each team, emphasizing the spacing of home and away games, and club travel.
A computer program was used, generating more than 1.3 million partial or full schedules for consideration. The league office then reviewed more than 3,500 “playable” schedules, eventually narrowing the field to 60 schedules. From the final 60, a final schedule was recommended.
In the final schedule, only two clubs have a three-game road trip.
Also, no team with a bye during Week Four or Week Five in 2008 will have a bye during Week Four or Week Five of the 2009 season.
The league now monitors the number of games that West Coast teams play at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time, when traveling to other time zones.
The league also now tracks — and attempts to minimize — the number of road games following Monday night games played away from home.
For the third straight year, any team playing a Thursday game has a home game on the preceding Sunday.
Finally, no team will play more than two road games against a team coming off a bye week.
Roughly ninety minutes from now, we’ll have a chance to scrutinize the extent to which these principles have been applied to the 2009 official schedule.
As we wait with