NFL Schedule Release Reportedly Could Be Delayed

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The NFL has somehow managed to make the annual schedule release a major media event on the heels of the draft and we certainly don't begrudge them for capitalizing on a football-hungry populace desperate for any morsel. It's another thing that could simply be consumed in agate form and no one would be worse for it. But once you convince people they need something they will get dependent on that dopamine hit.

The 2023 slate was supposed to be the focus of a major Thursday night jamboree where we could all gather together and read a bunch of games and dates together and dream of all the fun our future selves will have watching the action. In his Football Morning in America column today, NBC Sports' Peter King reveals that the league is really up against it timewise.

  • The release of the schedule, which the NFL had hoped to have for a primetime show Thursday night, may be delayed. It’s still likely to be done in time for release Thursday at 8 p.m., but I was told over the weekend it may not be finished in time. The 2023 mega-games—opening Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights, Thanksgiving Day, the new Black Friday tilt, the Sunday night game on Christmas Eve and the Monday tripleheader on Christmas—are not set in stone yet. The mega-games are usually solid by early May. The schedule crew is slated to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell this afternoon in New York, at which time more clarity on the tentpole games is expected. I’m told as of the weekend the NFL was still in search of options on the 272-game regular season slate, with a series of computers continuing to spit out alternatives.

Alright, so no reason to freak out. They're still tinkering with which marquee matchups deserve the Thursday treatment or the Monday night spotlight. Smart business right there. Millions if not billions of dollars hang in the balance because can you even imagine if there was an NFL game between two mediocre teams as a stand-alone offering? Fewer people might watch!

At the same time — and admitting some ignorance about how this whole process works — how is this possible? There are only 272 games to schedule. And it's May. And super computers are "spitting out alternatives." Yes, the Aaron Rodgers-to-the-Jets deal took a bit longer than expected but it wasn't a total surprise and what would have been the harm in making two different versions of a schedule based on whether he was playing in Green Bay or New York?

Major League Baseball puts on 2,430 games with little preseason fanfare. A little foldable schedule just appears on people's refrigerators when Opening Day arrives, like magic.

Now, again, there's a big meeting with the Commish this afternoon and more clarity should emerge and it could all go off without a hitch. But the very notion of the NFL missing its own self-imposed deadline about something so specious that's treated as a Spring Super Bowl would be objectively funny.