Bye Week: Does It Matter Where It Falls On the Schedule ?
It’s hard to believe that football season is finally here again. Roughly a week into training camp, we’ve examined the Denver Broncos and their opponents from many different angles already. As we speculate which veterans will be camp casualties and which unproven commodities will take their place, lets change gears to ponder how the placement of the Bye Week might effect the Broncos’ championship aspirations.
This season the Bye Week comes in Week 4 for the Denver Broncos Football Club, which ties 1993 and 2006 as the earliest the off-week has been on their schedule.
Before we dig into the numbers, let’s take a quick look at the history of the bye. Instituted along with the current playoff format prior to the 1990 season, most NFL fans think the extra week was built into the schedule to give players a much-needed chance to recuperate from the bumps and bruises that come with a grueling NFL season. Although this is a great ancillary benefit to the teams and players, the motive behind the Bye, as in most things, was the almighty dollar.
By the late 1980’s the NFL had become the dominant sport across televisions in the United States, so the bigwigs at the networks followed the only rule they know; you can never have too much of a good thing. Adding an extra week to the schedule allowed the TV networks to enjoy another week of bountiful ratings that came with NFL games. However, they did take it one step too far by adding a second Bye Week in 1993, stretching the regular season to 18 weeks. Realizing that a line was crossed, the NFL scaled it back to one Bye Week in 1994 and it has remained as such since then, with one exception.
In 2001, all games in Week 2 were postponed following the terrorist attacks of September 11th and made up on the final week of the season, pushing the playoff schedule back a week.
But does it really matter when a team takes its Bye Week? We’ll take a deeper look in the following pages to find out.