When it comes to the Chicago Bears, most fans are biased either positively or negatively. This study has nothing to do with bias as the Bears are among the top five most impacted negatively by the NFL’s scheduling inequalities.
If you are unfamiliar with Warren Sharp, he is one of the top fantasy and sports betting analysts around. He recently broke down how the NFL has consistently created the schedule in ways that either give teams an advantage or disadvantage. Clearly not every team will be on an equal playing field every year, but you would think they’d at least try to even things up year after year. According to Warren Sharp, this is not the case and the Chicago Bears have been negatively impacted.
My assumption is that the NFL is not doing this intentionally. Sharp believes the same thing. It seems the league is not paying enough attention to certain factors when creating the schedule each year. Factors that can give a team a disadvantage or an advantage include players’ rest, coaching prep time and distribution of prime time games.
The NFL prides itself on being equal having parity, but it is also a business and this can cause issues when it comes to scheduling certain teams based strictly on maximizing television revenue. Sharp breaks down the last decade by taking a look at how often a team has more rest and preparation time versus the team it is facing. For example, a team playing Thursday night will have more rest and game preparation than a team that played Sunday the prior week.
Sharp analyzes short week road games, off of a road Sunday or Monday night game, negated bye weeks (both teams facing each other came off the same bye week), and four games in 17 days. What is crazy about this is Sharp found that one team has played four games in 17 days three times over the last 10 years. However, 14 teams have not had to play four games in 17 days at all during the same 10-year span. Unfortunately, he did not divulge team names.
The analysis then separated primetime games. He found that over the last 10 years, one team has played on Monday night twice at home and nine times on the road. Whereas, another team has played six times at home and not a single road game. These are the types of inequalities that the league needs to pay better attention to when making the schedule each year.
The Chicago Bears find themselves fourth on the top five list for teams most impacted by these schedule inequalities. Whether the teams have been able to take full advantage of them I do not know. What should be known is that the Lions find themselves in the complete opposite situation. Yep, the Lions have had the fourth most helpful schedule over the last 10 years. Want to know where the Packers are in all this? They have seen the eighth-most helpful schedule.
I am not looking for excuses for any of the Chicago Bears inequalities or even the team’s poor outcomes at times. That said, I am tired of seeing the Packers find ways to gain advantages over the Bears. With the Chicago market, my guess is that it has played a big part in the negative impact due to extra primetime games to bring in higher television ratings.
Again, this should not matter. The Bears should demand more equality in the schedule and the NFL should reevaluate how they plan the schedule annually.