Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio is letting it be known that he is not happy with a portion of his team's schedule, and it is awfully hard to fault him for it. The Raiders will be playing the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 14 in a Thursday Night game on the road with just 4 days rest after playing the Bills the week before in Oakland.
Speaking with SiriusXM NFL Radio after practice Sunday with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt, Jack Del Rio lamented on the unfair schedule. His fury is evident, especially with his not so subtle jab at the NFL of "Somehow that got left behind" when Marvez sarcastically mentioned the league's concern over it's players health and safety.
"I don't understand how anybody would make this kind of schedule and ask you to do this," said coach Del Rio. "We're going to Kansas City on four days rest, which is two time zones. I don't know how often that occurs in the league, but it's something that should be avoided at all costs.
"It's hard enough to play on four days' rest, much less traveling a couple of time zones."
The games between the Chiefs and the Raiders are always extremely hard hitting and to ask them to play this historical rivalry on only 4 days rest is certainly a tough pill to swallow. Such is the life in the NFL when they have Thursday Night football games for teams that had just played the previous week.
It certainly is unfortunate timing wise for teams, but the NFL has a desire to separate the Thursday Night games from team's bye weeks which makes their scheduling complicated. The NFL prefers to do that because they believe the longer time off after a Thursday night game allows for a kind of pseudo 2nd bye week for teams.
"Thursday night games are really complicated because we try to make sure that on the short weeks teams are playing without any great geographic disparities." said Howard Katz who is responsible in helping oversee the NFL's schedule making process.
"We play mostly division games now on Thursday night," Katz continued while speaking with Gil Brandt and Alex Marvez. "We also try to make sure we've got adequate separation between clubs for Thursday night games and the bye week. We try to make sure they're four weeks (apart) to give teams two breaks from a health-and-safety standpoint."
One can see the thinking behind the NFL's approach here, but really it doesn't add up when looked at deeper. The extra time off the following week after playing a Thursday night game is nice, but it doesn't trump having teams play on just 4 days rest. Great, you get all this time off to heal after you have already possibly had injuries in the previous game due to not having enough rest off in the first place.
With this thinking from the NFL, they really should just implement a 2nd bye week for teams that happens before playing a Thursday night game. That way teams are not rushed into playing so quickly after their last game, but the NFL still gets their new cash cow of Thursday Night games. No matter what they decide to do this is definitely a circumstance that the NFL and the NFLPA should discuss in their next CBA negotiations.
*Article has been updated from the original content which mistakenly stated that the Week 12 match-up with the Bills was an away game. It is not, it is a home game for the Raiders game in Week 12 against Buffalo.