Each year somebody complains that NFL schedule makers shaft their favorite football team, and this year's winners are the people of Philadelphia and Tennessee. The Titans open on the road against Pittsburgh and Houston, and Philadelphia has three games in 11 days. So, fans figure, someone in the league must have it out for them. Only nobody does. If you know how the NFL makes a schedule you would also know the process is as meticulous as it is complicated, designed to satisfy a multitude of customers. But looking for a perfect solution in the imperfect world of scheduling is futile, so angry Eagles' and Titans' fans wonder what to do next. My answer: Get over it. Your teams weren't targeted or victimized. They were part of an endeavor so multi-layered that it covers 10 weeks, involves nearly a half-million mock drafts and includes a battery of computers, all 32 teams and five TV networks. It's what former scheduling boss Val Pinchbeck once called "a balancing act," only the reality is that that's not always possible. And the proof is Philadelphia and Tennessee. But when you understand how the NFL got there ... how it put together this year's schedule ... maybe you'll also understand that the people behind it aren't to be vilified; they're to be respected for the job they do, not the job they don't. I'm talking about a four-man committee that is under the direction of NFL senior VP of broadcasting and media operations Howard Katz and is sequestered in a top-secret fifth-floor room at league headquarters for two-and-half months, not emerging until it produces a recommendation for commissioner Roger Goodell. "It's a war room," said Mike North, the league's director of broadcast planning. "We close and lock the door. The windows are frosted. It's a key-card entry. And there are password-encrypted computers. "It's a bunker is what it is. It isn't clean. It doesn't smell good. But we lock ourselves in there for 10 weeks and do not emerge for anything other than to go home, get some clean clothes and come back and do it again."
Putting the NFL schedule together: Part science, part art
CBS Sports | Apr 20