The National Football League is the top professional league of American football. The league was created in 1920 and in 1970 a merger with the American Football League was completed to create the strongest league in the world. In 2002 the structure of the season was changed to a 4 week preseason, 17 week regular season consisting of 16 games and 1 bye, and a 12 team playoff series of which the Super Bowl is the final game. If you have ever wanted to know how the regular season games are scheduled, keep reading to find out.
How is the NFL schedule made?
The NFL schedule is created by the NFL Commission and they use a scheduling formula to determine which teams play each other during the regular season. The following in the formula that has been used since 2002.
To understand the following formula you need to know that the NFL is broken up into 2 conferences (NFC and AFC) with 4 divisions (east, north, south, west) in each conference. Each division has 4 teams.
6 Games – Each team plays the other teams in their division twice (3 games at home and 3 games away).
4 Games – Every team plays 4 other teams from other divisions within their own conference (2 home games and 2 away games). This is based on a three year rotating cycle.
4 Games – Every team plays 4 other teams from 1 division in the other conference (2 home and 2 away). This is based on a 4 year rotating cycle.
2 Games – Every team plays 2 other teams from within the same conference that finished in the same position as they did last season (1 home and 1 away). For example, the team that finishes last in AFC East will be scheduled to play 2 of the last places finishers in AFC North, South or West.
The schedule is released in the spring after the league can coordinate the season to avoid scheduling conflicts and increase the television ratings.