— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) June 19, 2013
The last time the Buffalo Bills made the playoffs was 1999. The team has finished below .500 for the past eight seasons. That ineptitude is due to a multitude of factors, but mostly the Bills want to complain about how they’re getting screwed over by the NFL’s scheduling department:
Assembling an NFL schedule with 32 teams, bye weeks and at least one prime time appearance for every club is no easy task. The painstaking work in crafting a schedule that works has been well documented. However, since the league instituted the 13-week Thursday night prime time schedule in 2012 there are a handful of teams that have been handed a big disadvantage in terms of preparation time for their next opponent.
Almost every NFL club now appears on the Thursday night schedule in a given season. Those that don’t are on Sunday or Monday night. Coupled with those alternative game dates appears to be a perception that the shortened weeks on the front end for Thursday night participants or the extra rest for players and prep time for coaching staffs for the game that follows will even out. That has not proven to be the case.
One of the teams that have been at a decided scheduling disadvantage has been the Buffalo Bills.
Last year Buffalo had four games in a five-week span in which their opponent had extra rest and prep time via a bye week or having played a Thursday night game the week prior. In that span the Bills also had their own bye week, but the benefits were nullified by the fact that their opponent (Houston) also had a bye the same week.
Buffalo went 1-3 in those games in 2012.
This year’s schedule is unfortunately playing out in much the same fashion. In this year’s 2013 NFL slate Buffalo faces five opponents that will come off of extra rest leading up to the week that they face the Bills.
The writer crunched the numbers and figured out that the Bills will face more teams with extra rest than any other in the NFL this season, whereas division rival New England will face none. Could that be a detriment to Buffalo’s chances? Perhaps. Of course, there have been studies that extra travel time hurts West Coast teams and you don’t see them bellyaching about it on their official sites.
Unfortunately, the issue has more to do with the NFL shoehorning in a Thursday night game every week rather than trying to stack the deck against a non-marquee team. Unfortunately, a few teams are going to get the short end of the stick each year. More often than not, it’s going to be teams not appearing on Sunday and Monday night games. And until the Bills make a habit of winning more often, that’s not gonna be them.