How the NFL Built (and Rebuilt) the 2022 Schedule

The people charged with putting together the 272-game NFL schedule you’re leafing through right now digested the Tom Brady news on March 13 the same way you did on that fateful night—with a mixture of shock and excitement, and anticipation for what might come next in the wildest offseason of them all.
The difference is, from there, it really was time for Onnie Bose, Howard Katz, Mike North, Charlotte Carey, Blake Jones and Nick Cooney to get back to work. So hours later, after a night’s sleep, the six schedule-makers reconvened in New York, with a mountain to climb.

“When you’re thinking the greatest player of all time has retired and with the opponents Tampa just has?” said Bose, the NFL’s VP of broadcasting, on Thursday, just before the schedule release. “We were gonna use those games in good places anyway, because they were still Dallas and Kansas City and Green Bay and the Rams. But him returning just elevated six to eight games—you can play those in any window.

nfl 2022

That was a game-changer for us.
“We use the phrase the ‘all systems stop’—everything we’ve been working on, let’s stop and reassess. So it’s not inaccurate to say it [changed everything]. It’s not full restart, but it’s a fundamental rethinking of everything. And now how do we redistribute those games in the right places and across our networks.”
That’s just one example of many such challenges the schedule makers faced this spri A simple accounting of events can illustrate that. Brady retired in late January. Kyler Murray issued a statement Feb. 28 calling his future in Arizona into doubt.

Aaron Rodgers made the call he was staying in Green Bay and Russell Wilson was traded on March 8. Carson Wentz was traded March 9. The aforementioned Brady return happened March 13. Deshaun Watson and Davante Adams were dealt on March 18. Matt Ryan was traded March 21, Tyreek Hill was dealt March 23 and Deebo Samuel’s trade request went public April 20.
Through it all, the group of a half dozen NFL folks putting that massive jigsaw puzzle together had to keep rejiggering things to account for obvious rising interest in a game such as Seahawks–Broncos (now the Monday night game in Week 1) all the way to the more subtly enhanced matchups such as Commanders–Jaguars (another Week 1 game, pitting Wentz against Doug Pederson).
“It makes it more challenging; it makes us have to anticipate and be able to react,” said Bose. “It was almost, at times, day-by-day, like Whoa, this is incredible, how does this impact our schedule? We’re fans at heart, too. It’s exciting to see these transactions and what the implications are. …
“We very much went into that thinking we don’t have Tom Brady and we’re not sure where Aaron Rodgers is gonna be. That was a big variable. And look at this schedule—Tampa Bay and Green Bay, including playing each other, have incredible opponents. Those two pieces of uncertainty alone drove so much.

And then throw in Russell going to Denver and the way the AFC West is now stacked and playing the NFC West.”

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