You think 11 weeks was a long time for the NFL to put together its 2018 schedule that was revealed Thursday night?

If it were up to the people to assembled it, the dates and times of games wouldn’t come out until after next week’s draft.

‘I’d love to know what happens in the draft next week before we made this schedule’

“Honestly, we’d wait even longer if we could,” Mike North, the league’s director of broadcasting, told Mike Keith and Phil Savage on Late Hits. “I’d love to know what happens in the draft next week before we made this schedule. Which of these quarterbacks that are going to be taken here might actually start Week 1 and would be a real interesting story line for us to be able to take advantage of.

“So, yes, it takes us 11 weeks, but honestly, if they gave us another month or two, we’d use it.”

‘The universe of potential schedules in any given season is essentially infinite’

North understands that opponents of each team were determined early last January, when the 2017 regular season ended, and the final piece of determining the season-opener came a month later after the outcome of the Super Bowl.

Still, there was a great deal that he and the rest of the schedule-making staff had to sort out, such as venue and other conflicts with other sports and non-sports events. Mainly, though, the challenge was doing everything possible to deliver the most appealing menu of games, particularly the ones played in prime time.

‘(There are) 3.2 million ways to lay out just 10 NBC games’

“Why does it take so long? Frankly because the universe of potential schedules in any given season is essentially infinite,” North said. “Just think about it this way: when Howard Katz, who runs the broadcasting department and is in charge of the scheduling process, picks out 10 games that he thinks are going to be good for Sunday Night Football on NBC. … Care to guess how you can arrange those 10 NBC games over the course of 10 weeks? (There are) 3.2 million ways to lay out just those 10 NBC games in those 10 weeks. And each one of those 3.2 million NBC schedules now has ESPN schedules as an offshoot of that and Thursday Night schedules as an offshoot, CBS and Fox double-headers. You’ve got to fit in the London games … the solution space for possible schedules is basically infinite and we try to look through as many of them as we can.”

For the most part, North is satisfied that the NFL constructed a schedule that the majority of its teams will find fair.

‘There’s only three teams that happen to have a three-game road trip this year’

“One of the things we loved about this particularly schedule is that there’s only three teams that happen to have a three-game road trip this year, and that’s down from seven last year,” he said. “And there’s actually no team that plays a road (game) after a road Monday, and that’s down from five last year. So somewhere out there in this infinite space there is a schedule maybe where zero teams had a three-game road trip and zero teams played a (road) game after a road Monday and the Sunday night schedule was excellent and the Monday night schedule and the Sunday afternoon CBS and Fox.”

Trying to find it is an entirely different story for another year.

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