Sports

NFL Schedules Tend to Balance Out

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There are events in sports that aren't really sporting events but are still meaningful. Selection Sunday comes to mind. You find out your favorite team's path to the Final Four and can contemplate all of the matchups. The NBA draft lottery is significant because a ping pong ball can determine whether you get a franchise player. The best example is the NFL draft. There are no plays called or tackles made, but it is a highly consequential day for the growth and development of franchises. Then there is the announcement of the NFL schedule. That label isn't really descriptive enough. We already know each team's opponents for the coming year, but now, drum roll please, the order that NFL teams will play their games.

I know it feels like whether you play your closest division rival at home first, or finish the year with them on the road it matters. It seems like a Sunday or Monday night home game is an advantage while a prime time road game is going to be tough. Nobody likes playing three straight road games, or having to travel across the country too much. Guess what? In 99 percent of the cases the order that you play your games does not matter.

The Giants will play the Cowboys this year at home and on the road and incredibly one of them will come before the other. One out of two Ravens vs. Steelers games will probably be at night. Inevitably the Seahawks or Chargers or Niners or Raiders will have to travel for a pseudo 10 a.m. kickoff.

All 32 NFL teams have professional athletes. Businessmen take red-eyes and then go to meetings. Doctors are on call. Pilots work overnight shifts. Being a pro means showing up for work and giving your best effort regardless of whether the game is early or late, at home or on the road, during a short week, or in inclement weather.

NFL players consistently play through pain and adverse conditions to give fans their best effort. They are well compensated for their services. For all of the work that the front office, coaches, and players put in, to think that the order that they play their games in is important is ludicrous. I'm as excited as anybody for the start of the year but will not get worked up if my favorite team has difficult opponents or a few road games to start the season. You know why? That means home games and a softer schedule later in the year.