When the NFL released the official schedule for all 32 teams, there were two glaring aspects that jumped off the page for the Bucs schedule. The first being that the Bucs week 16 matchup with the Texans still doesn’t have a definitive date. Which is odd in and of itself. The largest eye-catcher was that the Bucs will not play a game in Tampa Bay for 49 days. In a stretch of 6 weeks, including the team’s bye week, it will include a trip to London, two west coast trips, and a total of 20,378 miles. What a tough grind.
Apparently NFL Schedule makers agree per CBS Sports John Breech. The NFL’s Mike North, senior director of broadcast planning/scheduling, apparently wants another shot a making Tampa Bay’s schedule a bit more fair on a segment with SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Late Hits. North also went on to state,
“If we had to do-over, if we had a redo, I’d love to take another shot at that Tampa Bay schedule, I’m not sure that’s really fair to their fans. I’m hopeful that we didn’t do something to the Buccaneers that they feel like was really unfair.”
Unfair is a very good word. It’s unfair to players who will put their bodies on the line every week and endure a rough travel schedule. Then unfair for local fans who will have to wait 6 weeks between true home games. It seems elementary, but the NFL should really have a better system in place to make sure schedules like this don’t actually become official.
Every year there are murmurings around Tampa Bay about unpopular things in the respective year’s schedule. Yet at the end of the day, there is always a schedule that is worse. How bad is this year’s schedule though for the Bucs? Bad… Really bad. The NFL schedule makers have galvanized that point. The only other team in the league with a schedule remotely as bad is the Oakland Raiders, who will also go 49 days between home games.
Bruce Arians and his new coaching staff will have a tall order to fill come Fall with a team full of players that have failed to play a consistent level to produce winning results. And this schedule isn’t doing them any favors.
Can an Arians-led Bucs make the most out of their schedule? Time will be the ultimate teller. Until then the NFL has entitled Tampa Bay to complain about their schedule in the meantime.