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#pounditSunday, September 25, 2022

Tom Brady comeback posed 1 notable issue for NFL

Tom Brady after a game

Sep 9, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after defeating the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

One would expect that Tom Brady’s decision to end his brief retirement and return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have been welcomed by the NFL. That is true, though it made a lot of extra work for one group of league employees.

The NFL’s five-person scheduling crew had to scramble after Brady announced his comeback. Work on the 2022 schedule had already begun when Brady initially retired, and that forced the schedulers to adjust. Then they had to go back and essentially start over when Brady decided to come back, as Buccaneers games suddenly became much more attractive for national TV.

“When Tom Brady retired, we were concerned about the strength of the NFC package because there were so many terrific Tampa Bay games we were looking at,” NFL senior vice president of broadcasting Howard Katz told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. “Then a month later he un-retires and we sort of started all over again.”

The anecdote illustrates why the NFL schedule is not unveiled until after the draft, because that allows for the schedulers to adjust for events like this. While it was a headache for them, accommodating Brady was something they were more than happy to do.

On the bright side, this is not a new experience for the people in charge of NFL scheduling. A different quarterback put them through it last year with even more uncertainty.

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