NFL scheduler admits to avoiding one specific matchup in Week 1
One NFL scheduling executive admitted that his department looked to avoid a specific matchup in Week 1.
Vice President of NFL Broadcast Planning & Scheduling Mike North joined Adam Schein on “Schein on Sports” on Mad Dog Sports Radio on Friday. In the interview, Schein asked North whether the scheduling department took into account a potential Deshaun Watson suspension when making the schedule.
North said they did not do so because they don’t have any information about whether Watson will be suspended, and if so, when the suspension will take place.
"The honest answer to your question is no."
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But North did admit to something else — they avoided having Watson face his former team, the Houston Texans, in Week 1.
“We knew that Houston and Cleveland were obviously gonna play each other this year. And Cleveland at Houston is gonna mean something,” North said. “I’ll be honest with you, we did see a schedule, somewhere along the hundreds of thousands that we looked at this year, where that game was in Week number one. And I’m just not sure that would have been the right place for it, right? That’s maybe not the right, you know, game that we want all eyes on, attention on, you know, taking attention away from some of these other big tentpoles … in Week 1. So other than maybe really just thinking about where that because where that actual Cleveland at Houston game fell, there really wasn’t a lot of attention paid because, honestly, none of us knows what’s gonna happen.”
Watson’s Cleveland Browns are scheduled to visit the Texans in Week 13 instead.
Watson did not play at all last season while remaining on the Texans’ roster. The 26-year-old quarterack was traded to the Browns this offseason. The trade came after Watson was not criminally charged despite facing numerous accusations of improper sexual behavior while receiving and seeking massages. The NFL has not officially handed down any discipline to Watson. NFL rules allow the commissioner to discipline a player despite the absence of criminal charges.