To comprehend the complexity of the NFL schedule, you must first grasp how the league is organized. There are two conferences (the NFC and the AFC), each with four divisions (North, East, South, and West), and each division has four clubs. This is how we acquire 16 regular-season games. Each team will play home and away against every other team in its conference, with the exception of the division champions, who will receive an "exceptionally tough" game against a fellow division rival. In addition, the top team from one division will play the bottom team from the other division each year. This is why we have never seen any team from either conference win all five Super Bowls; each year, both conferences have a chance to win the championship.
The NFL schedule is released about a month before the start of the season and consists of six separate blocks of games that follow a common theme. The first block of games is known as "Thursday Night Football," because it is played on Thursday nights throughout the season. These games are designed to attract larger audiences than normal Sunday games by using different rules sets and different locations for each game. For example, one game may be played at night in another city, while another game might be played during prime time at your local stadium. These games are played on Sunday nights throughout the season and feature many special effects during play per usual in the NFL.
The NFL's scheduling formula is as follows: You play six games against each of the other three clubs in your division. You play four games against each of the other three divisions in your conference. Each year, these categories are rotated. So this means you could have up to 14 away games every season.
Each team gets the opportunity to be home once during the regular season. If a team fails to meet this requirement, they will be forced to go on the road for their final game of the season. This season's draft order will be determined based on current standing; however, if two teams finish with identical records, then the team that comes out ahead in some other tiebreaker (such as head-to-head competition) will get the advantage in drafting later in the round.
There is no set date for when each team will play their opponents. The only certainty is that each game will be played on a Sunday during the NFL season. Teams do have the option of changing the time or date of a game under certain circumstances such as weather delays or playing a daytime game on a Sunday night.
In general, the earlier in the season you can get a game scheduled, the better. This is especially true for popular games like Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
During the regular season, each NFC club plays the other teams in their own division twice (home and away), in addition to eleven extra games assigned to them by the NFL: The remaining three games are determined by a team's final divisional ranking from the previous season, and the remaining...
The AFC clubs play only within their division, with no cross-conference games. However, each AFC club plays one additional game per year against another conference opponent. In 2014, these "cross-over" games are scheduled as follows: Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers; Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals; Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans.
Conference realignment has been a constant feature of the NFL landscape since its inception in 1933. The current configuration of National Football Conference (NFC) and American Football Conference (AFC) divisions was established when the league went to a two-division structure in 1953. The eight original teams were divided into two groups of four, with each group playing a seven-game schedule. The top two finishers within each group qualified for the playoffs; if there were ties between groups, then toss a coin to determine which team would advance. This format was used through 1972 when it was replaced by its present form.
The new system was developed by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. Under his plan, each team would have played every other team in its division twice and every other divisional opponent once.
Teams. The NFL is made up of 32 teams separated into two conferences of 16 teams each. Each conference is divided into four divisions, each of which has four clubs. During the regular season, each club may have a maximum of 55 players on its roster; however, only 48 of these players may be active (available to play) during game days. The other seven spots are filled by the practice squad.
Head coaches and general managers. These are the only two positions required by the NFL rule book. A third position, an assistant coach, can be found on most teams' coaching staffs. They help head coaches organize game plans and prepare their players for upcoming opponents. Some assistants also have a role in management decisions about the team, such as whether or not to re-sign a player after he's been released.
Front office. This is the group of individuals who decide what type of business needs it meets with various clients and then hires someone to fill those positions. In the NFL, the front office includes general managers and head coaches. While some teams have a single person hold both posts, many others have separate members of the organization responsible for making key decisions. After all, no one person can know everything that's needed by his or her team.
The NFL was originally only going to have eight teams but expansion came first for the NFL than for any other major American sports league. The original eight teams were Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.