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A chat with a former NFL schedule maker...

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  • First, I am putting this in the Seahawks forum because the story came to me with respec to comments Pete Carroll made at a presentation made by the schedule makers of the NFL, but feel free to move if you feel necessary.

    So, I have a new friend who was one of four individuals responsible for creating the NFL schedule from around 2012 until last year and I had a chance to talk to him this morning.

    He relayed to me that after the Seahawks had won their Super Bowl, at the behest of some of the owners, the NFL schedule makers were requested to make a presentation to a large group of owners, front office personnel and coaches detailing exactly how the schedule was put together. At the end of the presentation, Pete Carrol comes up to him and says, “Hey, have you guys every given this presentation before?” My friend replied, “No, this is the first time.” Pete responded, “So, yeah please don’t ever give that presentation again.” (Dumbfounded look on my friends face). Pete continues, “It terrifies me to know that our whole schedule is the responsibility of four people locked into a room for 2 months and I don’t ever want to hear of it again.” (I thought this was hilllarious). He also noted that Carrol and the Seahawks were pissed they didn’t have any prime time home games in our repeat attempt year (I recall discussion on this site about the same).

    I am in IT so there was some discussion of the mechanics of system that were super interesting to me, but I won’t bore you with that portion. The gist of it is they have a fairly antiquated software program that runs some preset algorithms over a couple month period to spit out an initial draft of the schedule. This process is overseen by four (yes four) individuals that are locked into a key-carded room that even the commissioner doesn’t have access to. They then review the draft and optimize it basically to have one really good game in the 1PM slot as the main goal, then a solid Sunday night matchup, with the remaining time slots (including Monday night) not really mattering as much.

    The algorithms focus on the strength of the team from the past season, general national pull (not sure how that number is deprived), and INCLUDES the body clock issues associated with travel both east to west and west to east. However, he did note that the body clock factor was researched significantly and they found that it wasn’t a major contributor to wins and losses. That ultimately the better team usually won those games, no matter the start time. I was suprised however that it was actually a consideration as part of making the schedule. He did indicate that after the year San Fran had something like six 10 AM starts (2013?), they sent a huge packet of their own research to the schedule makers. My friend indicated the research really wasn’t compelling though because they felt the better team still won most of those matchups. Basically, having a good team matters way more than the travel impact. He also said they had extenisively researched Thursday night games for outcomes and injury issues and found that the perception that it cost the better teams and there were more injuries ,didn’t match their research. (Someone has another thread on Thursday injuries so I won’t go into that)

    Anyhow, I thought this was pretty interesting, so I thought I would share.
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  • This is interesting stuff. Thanks...

    One point tho.....snip "general national pull (not sure how that number is deprived)" snip

    On this is the popularity of the team, the fan base of the team, the watchability of the team, and their record of the previous years as far as filling seats in a stadium. All those factors fill in a popularity contest and that to me fills a General National Pull. Example....The bills will draw about 4 people to watch where the cincy bengals will pull about 40,000. Higher popularity and higher pull through the USA. The bills went to the playoffs this year...their pull just went up about 20 pts...but that will only mean about 30 people against them same bengals.

    This is my opinion. It is shown that Seahawks were decent a few years ago and since they have dropped, so is their viewing according to the 506 site last year. Green bay had issues too so their popularity dropped. So to fill the void, they hoped to fill it with a pair of teams to keep the game popular and in peoples homes to sell product. This seems sensible to me anyway.

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  • I would have had to ask how they know the team that won those games was the better team? W/L record isn't always an accurate measure. Better can be very subjective. Look at the power rankings week in and week out. Just because you have a better record doesn't necessarily mean you are the better team.
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  • kidhawk wrote:I would have had to ask how they know the team that won those games was the better team? W/L record isn't always an accurate measure. Better can be very subjective. Look at the power rankings week in and week out. Just because you have a better record doesn't necessarily mean you are the better team.

    "You are what your record says you are" (Parcells).
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  • kidhawk wrote:I would have had to ask how they know the team that won those games was the better team? W/L record isn't always an accurate measure. Better can be very subjective. Look at the power rankings week in and week out. Just because you have a better record doesn't necessarily mean you are the better team.


    :sarcasm_on: Just ask the refs...they know who the better team is. :sarcasm_off:

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  • Sun Tzu wrote:
    kidhawk wrote:I would have had to ask how they know the team that won those games was the better team? W/L record isn't always an accurate measure. Better can be very subjective. Look at the power rankings week in and week out. Just because you have a better record doesn't necessarily mean you are the better team.

    "You are what your record says you are" (Parcells).


    Might be a fine sound bite, but in reality record only reflects so much. There's a myriad of reasons why the better team doesn't have the better record, or why the "better" team doesn't always beat the "lesser" team.
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  • kidhawk wrote:
    Sun Tzu wrote:
    kidhawk wrote:I would have had to ask how they know the team that won those games was the better team? W/L record isn't always an accurate measure. Better can be very subjective. Look at the power rankings week in and week out. Just because you have a better record doesn't necessarily mean you are the better team.

    "You are what your record says you are" (Parcells).


    Might be a fine sound bite, but in reality record only reflects so much. There's a myriad of reasons why the better team doesn't have the better record, or why the "better" team doesn't always beat the "lesser" team.

    I assumed that it was assumed that quoting Parcells is always a wise crack.
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  • Sun Tzu wrote:
    kidhawk wrote:
    Sun Tzu wrote:
    kidhawk wrote:I would have had to ask how they know the team that won those games was the better team? W/L record isn't always an accurate measure. Better can be very subjective. Look at the power rankings week in and week out. Just because you have a better record doesn't necessarily mean you are the better team.

    "You are what your record says you are" (Parcells).


    Might be a fine sound bite, but in reality record only reflects so much. There's a myriad of reasons why the better team doesn't have the better record, or why the "better" team doesn't always beat the "lesser" team.

    I assumed that it was assumed that quoting Parcells is always a wise crack.


    That's why I said the bit about the sound bite :twisted:
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  • I am with Pete. That is a frightening thought that a team's entire schedule is 4 guys locked into a room using antiquated algorithm software. Very interesting though, thanks for sharing!
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  • So two 5-5 teams play, one having traveled east or west, and one of them wins making their records 6-5 and 5-6 respectively. Holy crap, the team with the better record won every single time! Travel has no influence!

    No wonder they lock them up.
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  • The New Zealand All Blacks rugby team has played 566 international tests since 1903 and have won 77.21% of the matches. The major outlier amongst test nations is when they play in South Africa, where they have only won 22/49 matches (44%), as opposed to 29/43 at home (67%).

    Part of this was due to corruption, but even today they don't reliably win there. South Africa is not so far that they only play them on tour (as they do with the UK nations, for example) which would give them time to acclimate. As a result, they do one-off flights to South Africa, then play at the equivalent of 3 a.m.

    Now, when a team that has a sustained winning record over more than a hundred years consistently trips over one opponent but mostly in away games played during the middle of the night (NZ time), you have to wonder if something is up.
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  • Great story, thanks for sharing!
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  • Dude , I love , really , boring IT crap so spill it
    PM me or whatever if it s mundane crap to most I'll probably find a morsel that really amuses me
    That chat must've been fun
    BTW bitches it's my 27th anniversary and the wife n I are goin to the casino all weekend but I'll stiil likely come back here at some point in time to C if anything good happens
    I know it's the casino but with a pool and spa and drinks and games the wife can stress down and daddy can do what daddy does
    Please mommy , that's what daddy does
    I really wanna hear the mundane to most people
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    Great post thx.
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  • hawxfreak wrote:Dude , I love , really , boring IT crap so spill it
    PM me or whatever if it s mundane crap to most I'll probably find a morsel that really amuses me
    That chat must've been fun
    BTW bitches it's my 27th anniversary and the wife n I are goin to the casino all weekend but I'll stiil likely come back here at some point in time to C if anything good happens
    I know it's the casino but with a pool and spa and drinks and games the wife can stress down and daddy can do what daddy does
    Please mommy , that's what daddy does
    I really wanna hear the mundane to most people
    :2thumbs: :2thumbs: :2thumbs:

    :irishdrinkers: :irishdrinkers: :irishdrinkers: :irishdrinkers:

    :179422: :179422: :179422: :179422:
    Great post thx.


    Enjoy the drinking :lol:
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    Richard Sherman wrote:People look forward to writing us off. Our demise was greatly overstated.
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  • Sounds like BS to me.
    Until we develop a pass rush that will cause opposing teams to be forced to scheme to defend it we will never be able to consistently take the final step. The interior rush needs improvement. The OLine clearly still needs work.

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  • Peter king did an article about the process too.

    It's really really hard. If it was just no 10 am games for west coast teams, no back to back west trips for east teams it would be easy.

    But what you don't see if the Pope visiting Philly during the season and making 3 weeks must be road games.

    Or Oakland sharing the stadium with the A's and having two weeks the first month or so blocked

    Or LA sharing the stadium with SC and SC requesting no same home game weekends

    Or Bon Jovi playing at Met life stadium on a weekend and needing the jets/giants to be on the road the same

    Or the circus coming to town in some city

    Or any number of variables that when thinking about just one team is easy but when juggling the entire league and need it to all equal out. It's a very difficult task
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  • KiwiHawk wrote:The New Zealand All Blacks rugby team has played 566 international tests since 1903 and have won 77.21% of the matches. The major outlier amongst test nations is when they play in South Africa, where they have only won 22/49 matches (44%), as opposed to 29/43 at home (67%).

    Part of this was due to corruption, but even today they don't reliably win there. South Africa is not so far that they only play them on tour (as they do with the UK nations, for example) which would give them time to acclimate. As a result, they do one-off flights to South Africa, then play at the equivalent of 3 a.m.

    Now, when a team that has a sustained winning record over more than a hundred years consistently trips over one opponent but mostly in away games played during the middle of the night (NZ time), you have to wonder if something is up.



    While I don't think your comparison is irrelevant, it isn't quite a fair comparison. For these games, we are only talking a maximum 3 hour body clock difference (UK games not withstanding), not a half a day. Also, he indicate that they do take it into consideration, it just isn't the biggest variable.
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  • gowazzu02 wrote:Peter king did an article about the process too.

    It's really really hard. If it was just no 10 am games for west coast teams, no back to back west trips for east teams it would be easy.

    But what you don't see if the Pope visiting Philly during the season and making 3 weeks must be road games.

    Or Oakland sharing the stadium with the A's and having two weeks the first month or so blocked

    Or LA sharing the stadium with SC and SC requesting no same home game weekends

    Or Bon Jovi playing at Met life stadium on a weekend and needing the jets/giants to be on the road the same

    Or the circus coming to town in some city

    Or any number of variables that when thinking about just one team is easy but when juggling the entire league and need it to all equal out. It's a very difficult task



    Great points all around here and this is likely why it takes 2 months to work it out. Well, that and the fact that they don't want to pay for cloud server processing time and do some pretty jenky things to get around it. :3-1:
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  • jammerhawk wrote:Sounds like BS to me.

    Why? Care to elaborate? Sounds like it could be possible to me.
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