The NFL can turn anything into a spectacle, even the release of the league schedule.
The thing some fans don’t realize about the schedule is that teams’ opponents, and even whether they’ll face those opponents at home or on the road, are set at the conclusion of the previous regular season. When the league rolls out the full slate in the spring, the only new information is essentially whether a game takes place in primetime or not.
And yet there’s plenty of fanfare surrounding the schedule release, even if that schedule could be upended by a global crisis. In addition to the annual hours-long TV special announcing the slate, teams have in recent years begun producing elaborate videos for social media to reveal their schedules.
This year was no exception. Here are 10 of the best produced by social media teams around the league.
Minnesota took an interesting approach by actually recording the video call between EVP of football ops Rob Brzezinski and NFL schedule maker Michael North in which North revealed the Vikings’ schedule to the team for the first time. It’s mostly like sitting in on a work meeting between two regular guys, but it’s interesting to see how the process goes.
While a couple of teams went with a TV theme for their reveal videos, the Dolphins get bonus points for creating original clips instead of just copying bits from popular shows. Whoever did the fake nature documentary voiceover deserves a raise.
Baltimore’s effort is another with a television theme, but keeping it focused entirely on game shows is a clever wrinkle. The Ravens’ squad also did an awesome job editing the clips to put the opponents’ names in the font of the shows.
New England’s entry was low-budget, but clever and entertaining. The team used footage from last month’s bizarre virtual draft to create a fake conference call with the guys in charge of their opponents. The chat in the lower righthand corner is a nice touch, too.
It says a lot about the videos further down this list that the Titans only come in at No. 6.
This video may look like a late-80s/early-90s cartoon that the team repurposed for its schedule reveal, but it’s actually 100% original. The team enlisted 30 people from the animation department at Nashville’s Lipscomb University, under the direction of former Disney animator Tom Bancroft, to create the video.
The “stuck inside” theme is low-hanging fruit in 2020, but the video editing by the Panthers is unrivaled. The creativity of spelling out opponents’ names in hair trimmings and spilled ramen noodles was a nice touch. There are more cool visual effects over the course of three minutes than I could count.
Are cat memes a little played out in 2020? Yes. But, the team did such a good job finding the perfect clip to pair with each opponent.
A great concept doesn’t automatically guarantee a great final product. Even though the Broncos had a strong idea with their Full House parody, it’s the performances from the players that drive this one home. Can the team please release a video next that’s just Vic Fangio cooking meatballs?
Plenty of teams incorporated essential workers and healthcare professionals into their schedule reveals, but no one did it as well as the Chargers. While other teams just gave the people on the front lines a shoutout from a player or tickets to a game, the Chargers gave them something they could use: $1,000 in groceries. The reactions of the people they surprised were priceless.
How did they pull off such a perfect recreation of the opening credits from HBO’s Westworld? Unless they just hired the people who made the credit sequence, this is insanely impressive. Every opponent has been turned into an animated marble sculpture, which alone is a remarkable feat. To splice them all together in a way that looks like a legitimate movie credits sequence is absurd.