It Makes So Much Sense, They'd Never Do It!

I know this blog has nothing to do with uniforms but I figured this idea would get more play here than in the Forum itself.

I was reading an article today about how the NFL wants to expand its scheduling to include three regular season games in London next year instead of just two like this season.

I got to thinking. See, I'm a math teacher and while I can't memorize a phone number that I just looked up and get to the phone before I forget it, I can still work with numbers with quite a degree of mental agility.

My plan first calls for eliminating Week 4 of the Preseason - for everyone except two teams. On what used to be Preseason Week 4, these two teams would open the season in England, a week ahead of everyone else. They would then be off the following week (Week 2) when all 30 other teams are beginning their season.  The NFL actually did this for a while back in the early 1940s.

There are currently 17 weeks in the regular season with each team receiving a single bye week but with the elimination of Preseason Week 4 there would actually be 18 weeks. Technically, 30 teams would be getting a second bye week at the start the season. Those two opening in England early would be granted their second bye week at some point likely around mid-season.

Every week following, two more teams would play in England and receive the following week off as their in-season bye. After the first 16 weeks of the season, every team will have played in England. Fair and equitable.

To make it even more fair, the first year that it is implemented, every NFC team would be the host of an AFC team. This way, division and conference tie-breakers are unaffected as each NFC team would have 7 home games and 'host' one game in England. All AFC teams would require one road game to be played in England. All conference and division games are still played in North America granting no one a tie-breaker advantage. Fair and equitable.

The next year, things would reverse and every AFC team would give up one home game to 'host' an NFC team in the same way. Fair and equitable.

In order to determine opponents, a simple system could be concocted. Something along the lines of 1s vs. 1s, 2s vs. 2s, etc. based on the previous season's final standings. If put into play, it will be unfortunate that the fans of the four division winners losing a home game will be losing a game against another division winner (from the other conference, albeit) but in this way the London crowds will likely get some quality meaningful games. Before the season started San Francisco fans likely would have been bummed at losing a Houston visit to Candlestick. But in hindsight, was it really a matchup of division leaders as its '1 vs 1' status was predicted? Nothing is guaranteed as parity reigns supreme. Fair and equitable.

As Commissioner Goodell has sought to grow the League in Europe, rather than basing a single team in London where scheduling and travel for such a team would be patently unfair, this system would allow every NFL team to be seen in London every season. London fans could buy season tickets and see up to 16 regular season games for Weeks 1 through 16. Weeks 17 and 18 would then see teams return to play solely in North America and the NFL could continue its recent trend to include division games during the last week of the season. The last two teams to play in England during Week 16 would enjoy Week 17 off before returning to action for the last week of the regular season.

Under this plan, the League would only be committed to pursuing this course for two years. If it's determined that it's not working, stop the program and go back to how it is now and consider the London-experiment over.

One question in my mind is whether or not this plan would make enough money over the course of the season to replace the single lost week of Preseason 'action.' A sold-out Wembley Stadium likely brings in more than most regular NFL Stadiums and should serve to recoup that missing Preseason money. If it doesn't, the League could always have all teams begin their Preseasons during 'Hall of Fame Game' week instead of just starting with two teams who are forced to play a fifth Preseason game one week before everyone else. Everyone would still get their four Preseason games as always.

I can also see complaints coming from West Coast teams about the extended travel. Not to make it sound like East Coast bias or anything but London has become the focus of expanding the League, not Asia. If the League had determined that Japan or China was the way they needed to go, the eastern teams would have greater cause to gripe. It's just the way things shook out.

In closing, I'll throw a uni-related tidbit into the mix. Make these games color vs. color except where two teams share the same color jersey or two colors too close together like navy and black. That would also serve to have these games stick out.

OK, fans. Commence shooting holes in my theory.  Give me your best shot.
Bill Schaefer

1 comment:

  1. some cities were smart enough to write into team's lease that their team has to play all their home games in their home stadium. so not every team could take a turn as being a home team



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