The 2019 NFL schedule brings logistical challenges for Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two teams that will go 49 days between games at their home facilities.
In planning its schedule, the NFL has several unique factors to sort out, especially given the league’s growing emphasis in recent years on Thursday night and international games. The result can either be a shortened week or complicated logistics for certain teams, and the Raiders and Buccaneers will be two clubs that face unique challenges in 2019.
As two of the four teams that will have a home game scheduled in London this season, the Raiders and Buccaneers are slated to play at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 6 and October 13 respectively. In the cases of both teams, the London home games will be surrounded several away games and a bye week. As a result, the Raiders and Buccaneers will each go 49 days between games at their respective home facilities, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and Raymond James Stadium. More from For The Win:
The Raiders, who didn’t even know where they were going to play their home games until last month, play the Chiefs at home on Sept. 15 and then don’t play another game at the Oakland Coliseum until Nov. 3. During that time they play at Minnesota, Indianapolis, Green Bay, Houston, and they play the Bears in London so they get the bye week after that before finally playing the Lions at home.
The Bucs play the Giants at home on Sept. 22 then don’t play another home game until they host the Cardinals on Nov. 10. Between then they play at Los Angeles (Rams), New Orleans, Tennessee, Seattle, and they play the Panthers in London so they get the bye after that.
When adding in additional factors such as travel and quality of opponents, both teams are projected to have among the NFL’s toughest schedules for the coming season. In the case of the Raiders, the organization has already dealt with a good deal of uncertainty about its 2019 home slate, as they did not finalize their agreement to call the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum home until March.
In the specific case of London games, there are advantages for the NFL in terms of broadening international appeal and there have even been benefits for individual franchises—the Jaguars have embraced their annual Wembley Stadium games, while continuing to invest in upgrades to Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field and the surrounding area. One side effect, however, is the scheduling and logistical challenges the games create, and this season will see a particularly glaring example with the time between games in Oakland and Tampa. With those challenges ahead of them, it will be interesting to see how both organizations prepare over the coming months.
Image courtesy Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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