Back in February a group of University at Buffalo researchers presented their paper at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytic Conference on systematic inequities in NFL scheduling dealing chiefly with matchups between teams with uneven rest leading up to those games. The research came in the wake of a Buffalobills.com report on the subject when the league’s 2013 schedule was released. The NFL is now apparently interested in comparing formulas to create more fairness in their scheduling.
That according to ESPN, which reported Thursday that Mike North, NFL Director of Broadcast Planning, and a key member of the league’s scheduling group, spoke with Dr. Murat Kurt and Dr. Mark Karwan, both UB professors. The report indicates that their model will not have an impact on the 2015 regular season schedule, which will reportedly come out in the next week, but that their input could be a factor in future years.
“We would look at this as something fun for us and maybe a help for the NFL,” Karwan told ESPN. “You can’t get a perfect schedule, but … our goal would be to show them that a lot of the schedules they generate could be improved.”
The Buffalobills.com report back in June 2013 revealed that more than half the league (17 teams) had one or no games against opponents coming off extra rest, while the Bills had five games against opponents that had extra rest prior to their matchup with Buffalo to lead the league.
The NFL stated that TV considerations for quality primetime matchups is one of the hurdles the league has to clear, which makes striking a more competitive balance difficult, but at least the league is trying to make an effort to level the playing field by consulting with the UB professors.
“It’s probably going to take two or three years to expand our method,” said Karwan. “It’s possible we’ll have to loosen some of our other conditions to make it work. But we have the ideas, and they said they could get us the data. Maybe it is a situation where we could eventually generate the 2018 schedule after it’s announced and then we can compare.”
Tags: NFL scheduling, University at Buffalo
Posted in Inside the Bills