Why the NFL’s schedule release is overproduced

Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs /

The NFL’s vanity is responsible for its overproduced schedule release and there’s no reason for us to get caught up in it.

Leaks, leaks, and more leaks. The Kansas City Chiefs schedule reveal, and the 2022 NFL schedule as a whole, doesn’t need to be such an overproduced event. But the league is too vain to admit it.

After the 2022 NFL Draft, the league fell out of the sports news cycle. It is to be expected, as baseball ramps up and basketball enters the playoffs. Those two sports alone can engage a sports talk show for days, restricting any NFL airtime.

As a fan, that seems okay. Each sport has a season, allowing each to have time on the calendar to thrive. Growing up, it seemed like a nice thing to do. Now, more bitter and educated, fans can realize that professional sports cannot thrive if they are always competing with each other. Sports are a business after all.

The NFL’s vanity turns this schedule release into a monster, though. It is an enormous task for six NFL executives to build this 272-game schedule over the league’s 18-week season. But, this task does not warrant a massive celebration.

When kids complete a big project, they are excited to show it off. Whether it be teachers, parents, family, or friends, they show it off to anyone with eyes. Rightfully so! Those kids put a lot of work into that project and they should be proud of it though. However, these six NFL executives are not kids. They are professionals paid a handsome wage to do what needs to be done. Simple as that.

Why do fans have this ravenous thirst for schedule insight days before its release? Because the NFL teams and corresponding news machines make them thirsty.

During the draft, the NFL announced several games. One was the Week 2 Thursday Night Football matchup between the Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers. That game is a pretty big deal! Two contending division rivals clashing on the first Thursday Night Football game streamed on Amazon Prime Video. The story writes itself, and the NFL was right to announce it. Since then, there has been a slow trickle of officially announced games. A Monday Night Football doubleheader on Sept. 19, international games, and a Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers matchup on Sunday Night Football, just to name a few.

This trickle makes fans want more. Here is where the schedule release gets frustrating.

The individual teams, NFL Network, and sports outlets start drumming up this impending event. Like everything in modern sports reporting, however, someone wants the scoop. They want ESPN analysts quoting their tweets and their breaking news for a massive audience. The kids call this “clout” nowadays, supposedly.

Chasing this recognition makes people do incredulous things. From fake Twitter accounts to dissecting blurry photos of nothing, fans’ thirst climaxes to amazing heights. Fans are clamoring on social media, bringing the league to millions of eyes again weeks after the draft.  That is right where the NFL wants them.

Take a look at the calendar year from the NFL’s viewpoint. There is a three-month span, from the draft’s end to the beginning of training camps, where there is no reason to highlight the NFL. There will be the occasional story fans will care about, enough for a 10-minute segment on SportsCenter, but that is not enough.

If the NFL reaches more people, it means more money for the league and its owners. That leads to possibly more fans coming to games, more followers on social media, and more hype for a season nearly five months away. So if they make the schedule release a big deal, then people will care and the ripple begins.

Think about it. The league released Kansas City’s 2022 opponents before the 2021 regular season ended. There was no fanfare, no multi-hour NFL Network special, no news cycle domination. The announcement came and went. The opponents are the important part, not when Kansas City is playing those opponents, but that announcement came during the season when the NFL already had millions of fans’ attention across numerous outlets. But, the schedule release comes during an NFL schedule void.

The NFL will continually extend this window for trivial league events. Does the schedule change anything? Yes, as post-bye week opponents are important for head coach Andy Reid. Is the schedule more important than the opponents on said schedule? No, not even close. This schedule release is a product of the NFL machine. No lives will be changed, like during the draft. No roster decisions will happen, like during the preseason. But, the NFL cares because more eyes mean more fans which means more money.

And everyone knows, that green always talks in the NFL.

Next. The most intriguing position battles for KC. dark