The Washington Redskins have a brutally tough schedule for a team coming off an awful 3-13 season.
A three-game road trip starting on Thanksgiving against three teams that are projected to either be good (at the minimum) or great is less than fun. It's also not fair.
"Last year (2017), NFL teams had seven three-game road trips (which are hated); this year, only New Orleans, Baltimore and the Rams have three-gamers, and every one of those trips is less than 1,000 miles," King wrote.
In 2017, five Monday night road teams went on the road the following week. This year (2018), none do."
When he says "which are hated" - the original piece that he authored said the NFL and the schedule makers (who work for the NFL) wanted nothing to do with those two scenarios mentioned above.
Here's the key graph from King's original piece in 2014: "The runner-up schedule had two major Seattle glitches that [the] NFL hates to hand teams: a three-game road trip, and a road game after a Monday night road game. And they would have happened in the same three-game stretch. In mid-season, Seattle would have played at St. Louis on a Sunday, at Washington on a Monday night, and at Kansas City on a Sunday."
In other words, the NFL threw out a finalist to the schedule because of these provisions.
In 2016, the Redskins were on the road for three consecutive games. At Dallas (more on this ridiculous scenario below) on Thanksgiving, at Arizona followed by a quick trip to Philadelphia. Two very long road trips out of three.
The Redskins are once again on the road for three games in a row in 2020 with a lengthy road trip starting at Dallas on a ridiculous short week and a Thursday afternoon game to top it off (as opposed to Thursday night), followed by trips to Pittsburgh (short) and San Jose/Santa Clara, California. which is anything but short.
From 2016, King wrote this: "Early in the offseason, the (NFL schedule makers) crew asks teams for their preferences for the 2016 schedule."
Did the Washington Redskins ask for (and were granted Thanksgiving games) in 2016, 2017, 2018 and now 2020 ?
There's a strong sense and belief per sources that is what has happened.
If the wish for being on Thanksgiving was granted to the Redskins off of a 3-13 season, when they have no business being featured in the most visible NFL window of the season, then perhaps the punishment was three-game road trip with two long trips included.
If that's indeed what had to happen for the Redskins to play on Thanksgiving and it was the Redskins request, shame on them. If the NFL just happened to do this for laughs, shame on the league.
Whoever is responsible, it should still not be allowed with all of the technology we have available.
Alan Lepore mentioned in this column that the Redskins are joined by three other teams in the NFL for three-game in a row road trips. The New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints are the other teams.
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Here's my question: If the NFL "hates' to do that - how do four teams get shafted?
The Saints have at Denver, at Atlanta and finally at Philadelphia starting just after Thanksgiving.
The Patriots have games against both the Los Angeles Chargers and then the Rams, at the brand-new SoFi Stadium with a Sunday to Thursday night turn-around followed by a trip to Miami ten days later.
Arizona is at Carolina, at the Jets and then at Dallas on a Monday night.
That's the worst of the three travel itineraries unless the Cardinals are staying on the east coast after the Carolina game before heading to New York.
The Redskins have the two long trips as part of their three-game tango and no way to stay in one location like New England can.
Another issue over the years that has affected the Redskins more than the three-game gauntlet is the other scheduling quirk the NFL "hates" to give teams.
In 2011, the Redskins played a week three Monday Night Football game in Dallas and we arrived back at Redskins Park at around 5 AM only to have to travel to St. Louis the following Saturday for a 1 ET game Sunday. A big no-no, according to King's reporting.
In 2014, the Redskins played another Monday night game in Dallas (an overtime win & the last time they won on MNF) followed the very next weekend by a trip to Minnesota for a game against the Vikings in the early Sunday window.
In 2016, Washington didn't exactly have that same scenario but they played Sunday NIGHT Football at home against the Packers (a scheduled, non-flexed SNF game) and then traveled to Dallas for a Thursday AFTERNOON showdown. That's completely absurd.
That road trip on a short week kicked off the three-game trip (mentioned above) including Arizona and Philadelphia to wrap it up.
Also, in 2016, the Redskins hosted Ron Rivera and the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football before playing in Chicago on a SATURDAY early afternoon because Sunday was Christmas Day.
From 2018, King further wrote: "One of the 13 playable schedules that was turned down by Katz failed in only one regard: It had the Steelers on the West Coast on Dec. 9, a Sunday night game at Oakland, followed by another road game the following Sunday. No good, Katz said. It’d be unfair for the Steelers to play on the West Coast on a Sunday night, get back to Pittsburgh at 7 a.m. or thereabouts on Monday, and then have to prepare to travel Saturday for a Sunday game. That’s what nixed that schedule."
Totally understandable that the league wouldn't want that for one of their charter franchises and Dallas isn't exactly Oakland but Pittsburgh is closer to the Bay Area than Washington is.
The Redskins haven't exactly been in that situation but twice in 2016 and once each in 2014 and 2011 along with three-game roadies in '16 and '20 is a bit disturbing if we look at what the NFL "hates" to do.
Makes me wonder.
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Chris Russell is the Publisher of RedskinsReport.com & Sports Illustrated's Washington Redskins channel. He can be heard on 106.7 The FAN in the Washington D.C. area and world-wide on Radio.com. Chris also hosts the "Locked on Redskins" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at russellmania09@Gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621.