After we wrote about the NFL planning for an eight-game season, someone asked me if I knew how the league would handle the schedule.
If the labor dispute costs the NFL any amount of games, the league will have to adjust the schedule in some fashion. The most obvious potential solution is to simply keep the schedule as it is, play the games when they’re currently scheduled, and don’t play the games that were missed.
Of course, if eight games are lost, that leads to a couple problems. Certain teams could be playing divisional opponents more times than others. For example, the Green Bay Packers only see two divisional opponents in the season’s first eight weeks, while the [intlink id=”13″ type=”category”]Chicago Bears[/intlink] have three.
As you probably know, these games have ramifications for both division standings and the playoffs.
Then there’s the question of how to handle bye weeks, particularly with teams whose byes have passed vs. teams whose byes remain on the schedule. Bye weeks currently begin in week 5 and run through week 11, with a break in week 10.
It’s a situation rife with complications and the NFL doesn’t have the answers yet.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello pointed me toward a quote colleague Brian McCarthy made in April, when the schedule was initially announced.
“If and when it becomes clear that we cannot play the schedule as it was announced,” he said, “we will make the appropriate adjustments with an eye toward minimizing changes.”
Perhaps it’s a good sign the NFL hasn’t addressed the situation yet.