The NFL Schedule is a Mess

December 1, 2020

The NFL has a serious scheduling problem on its hands. The Ravens and Steelers were scheduled to play on Thanksgiving night on NBC in primetime and are now tentatively scheduled for tomorrow at 3:40pm. This, after rescheduling the game previously to Sunday, then Monday, then Tuesday, and finally (for now) Wednesday. The game would have likely been the most watched game of the week and now surely will be the least.

Elsewhere in the league, the Broncos played a game this Sunday in which they had no quarterbacks on the roster to play. None! They even tried to get a coach to come off the bench and play but the league wouldn’t allow it. Of course, the Broncos lost in brilliant fashion.

This is a mess on so many levels, and the NFL has no one to blame but itself.

Every other major sports league had already restarted its mid-pandemic play this year before the NFL even kicked off. The NFL had time to sit back and learn from the other leagues’ mistakes and plan around the reality of a season in 2020. It doesn’t seem like they learned from anything that happened previously this year and marched on like nothing was going on. There were no extra breaks than normal in the schedule. There is seemingly no plan if one or more teams has an outbreak. The only plan so far it seems is to keep the owners making money from the TV contracts above all else. Not a good look.

After some early season moves, in which games were rescheduled and bye weeks were moved around, there is now no wiggle room left in the schedule for the remainder of the season. The league seems uninterested in cancelling or forfeiting games: they’ve threatened to not pay the players and coaches if such a situation arises. They’re bending over backwards for one team (my beloved Ravens, alas) and throwing another team into the fire with no quarterback. Not to mention the half dozen or so other teams affected by the Ravens and Steelers schedule moves.

I’m not sure where the league goes from here. It seems like it’s only going to get worse. Like many things in 2020, we all just need to deal with it. They’re just doing what we’re all doing: winging it one day at a time.

How about if there’s an outbreak on a team, they forfeit their next game? Pay the players. Pay the coaches. Move other games into primetime slots. Get the team healthy and protect everyone involved from spending this virus. Deal with it, and get ready for the next week. Have some make-goods for the TV networks in future seasons or future weeks. Do something other than just hoping this will go away.