For anyone who’s ever sat at work thinking, “This meeting could have been an email,” this question is for you: Why are you transfixed by the NFL schedule being released in snippets for an entire week? ?
A sports league whose teams are active one day a week for a third of the year has somehow managed to take over the entire schedule and all of our attention, and it makes no sense to anyone but the league. Good on them for making it seem like what they’re doing in months that don’t end in “ber” or “uary” has any meaning, but what fools are we all to buy into it.
It starts out innocently enough, with mini-camps and organized team activities. It’s a long offseason, and it’s good to make sure everyone stays on the same page, keeping fit, all of that. That brings you to training camp, which doesn’t matter in any sport, but consumes, somehow, half the time of the season itself, from the first reporting date to when preseason finally wraps up.
The monster, of course, is the draft, which came out of a smoky hotel ballroom in Philadelphia, where the owners of the Bert Bell-led teams discovered that they could assign players to teams and therefore not have to compete with each other to pay. those players a fair market value, to a three-day jerk-fest on the Las Vegas Strip. People dress up, put on face paint, and pay thousands of dollars in hotels and plane tickets… to see something that could be done in three hours on Zoom if the Vikings didn’t keep getting up for more fries.
At least the draft has an unknown element. We already know who’s playing who, home and away, because the NFL schedule is based on a divisional rotation and standings from the previous season. All that remains are the dates, but you already know the dates: you’ll be sitting in front of your TV on Thursday nights, all day on Sunday and Monday nights, because you’re inevitably addicted to this league. They are only leaking some details prior to the release of the full schedule because it gives each of their television partnersthose who put all the money into football, a moment for… shall we say… peacock.
And that’s fine! Enjoy soccer! But you don’t have to worry about this. It might be cool for the Rams and Broncos to get the nickelodeon treatment on Christmas (sort of, anyway: The NFL already gets its players through enough that Christmas is one too many, and that game won’t be as good as the league and Viacom think it is). It may also be something you completely ignore until the full schedule is released.
You don’t need to think about football on May 9, 10, 11, or even the day the full schedule comes out, May 12. You can watch it anytime between then and the end of summer, and it won’t. change. It’s significant if you’re a person who will be traveling to football matches and booking tickets, sure, but even if it’s you, wouldn’t you rather have all the information at once? Instead, you find out about a game or two before Thursday, when the schedule is announced on a televised special for one reason and one reason only: The NFL has its own television channel and there are more than 8,000 hours a year in which nobody plays NFL. football…not that most NFL football is seen on NFL Network.
Actually, they should air the schedule launch show a few more times over the summer. It would help fill some of that time and serve as a reminder of what the schedule is because after four days of nonstop hype, we’ll all have forgotten 99 percent of the NFL schedule for Friday afternoon, because it’s a nonsense to which it is nonsense to pay attention.