Proposed Changes to the NFL Schedule Rubric

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/15/AR2008101503231.html?wpisrc%3Dnewsletter&sub=AR

I am not sure I like any of this.  I like 4 preseason and 16 regular season games.  The preseason games are dull to watch, but so what?  They shouldn’t be there to be exciting programming.  They are there to get everyone practice, evaluate players, set a roster so that the 16 regular season games are exciting programming.  Plus 4 divisions of 4 teams in two conferences playing 16 games makes for very logical scheduling.  17 games would be totally odd.  18 could work with a minimal of tinkering; just play 2 positional games against the divisions in your conference that you’re not playing the whole division, like 1s & 4s or 2s & 3s.  Or play a couple power matchings against teams in the other conference.  But I would like to stay with 16 regular season games.  However, if they do go with 18 games, it could be minimally disruptive to the current scheduling pattern if they did some combination of playing on Labor Day Weekend (like they used to), getting rid of the bye weeks in the season (those didn’t used to exist), and getting rid of the off week before the Super Bowl (which has not been there at times in the past).

As for the playoffs, 8 teams per conference would mean half the league makes the playoffs and would dilute the product some.  Also, it would make it a challenge to schedule the opening weekend unless you went to regional coverage, or games on different networks at the same time.  You could do the latter; play a game on CBS and Fox at 1pm, one game on CBS or Fox at 4:15 (one network would have Saturday and the other Sunday), and then a game on NBC at 8pm both nights.  The only way to have every game be national would be to go with quadrupleheaders by playing at like noon, 3pm, 6p, and 9p each day, as you can’t go with Friday night or Monday night and have a fair playoff out of the regular season and into the divisional round.  But I would probably just leave it at 6 teams myself.  Sometimes a 10-6 gets left out with only 2 wildcards, but taking half of each conference could very well let 7-9 teams get in.  Of course, more teams would mean more games and more revenue.

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