The long awaited 2010 National Football League schedule is out at last, making the coming season truly seem to be right around the corner.
As always, there is a great deal of speculation and analysis about tough schedules, easy schedules, etc., and that puts me in mind of a past moment in which I asked a coach to compare our schedule with that of a division opponent.
He took a quick look and said, “Looks like we each have eight at home and eight away.”
A very pithy comment often lost on the populace at this time of year. As Josh McDaniels often has said, people try to make forecasts on records, but all the analysis and speculation is based on last year’s records for all teams involved, and each year is a whole new season.
Let’s take a quick look at some schedule facts for this year, and bear in mind that at all times, there is constant change from week to week, based on weather, injury, fatigue, and the basic fact that some teams will get better and some will slip as the long year grinds along.
The Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers travel the most miles this year, San Francisco going 33,264 and the Broncos moving 23,184-of course, this is largely due to the fact that we play each other in London, and then we get a well-deserved bye after that long travel week.
We open at Jacksonville, where the Jaguars will play three home games in their first four-no doubt, the Jaguars will be hoping that the heat is a factor, but then again, it’s not like the visitors don’t know it gets hot in Florida.
In the final three weeks of the season the NFL schedule will feature 28 division matchups, up from 15 in 2009. The Broncos will be a part of that as well with three division games in our last five, including two of our last three.
For the first time in Texans’ history they will play three prime time games, two on ESPN and one on the NFL Network, giving former Broncos’ offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak plenty of national exposure.
With the recent acquisition of Donovan McNabb the Washington Redskins find themselves scheduled to play three prime time games and five on national television this year.
Meanwhile, the longest current streak of Monday Night Football appearances is 18 by the Broncos, and Denver will extend that to 19 when we play in San Diego under the Monday night lights this year.
As might be expected, the Cowboys, Steelers and Colts will dominate the national primetime slots with five appearances each, and the Jets have five primetime games as well. The 49ers have four prime time games, and the Raiders have none.
What does it all mean?
It means what it always means.
If you don’t prepare are practice well you are in danger of getting your teeth kicked in every week, home or away, no matter the foe. And if you do practice and prepare well, you can win any game on the schedule, no matter who the opponent is, no matter where, no matter what day or time of day.
Every coach knows it is all about how you study and work and prepare, and then carrying every one of those good habits over to game day.
We all start off with eight at home and eight away. The NFL is the world’s greatest meritocracy, and we’ll see who merits what as the season moves along.