Scheduler meets with coaches, GMs

NFL head coaches and general managers often have questions about how the league crafts its schedule.

The executive in charge of the process tried to provide some insight.

Howard Katz spoke Monday at sessions for head coaches and GMs at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.

“The scheduling process is very sophisticated now and also very important to the league and teams,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told in an email. “Howard has met with and gotten input on numerous occasions from the competition committee. He took it a step further this year by talking to the coaches and general managers as a group.”

Katz shared elements of how the schedule is formulated. For example, the NFL tries to ensure that teams don’t have early- or late-season byes for two consecutive years in the interests of competitive balance. Katz also solicited suggestions from the head coaches and GMs.

“The purpose was to help them understand the process and solicit their input on the things that matter most,” Aiello wrote. “Howard wanted to make sure that we’re not wasting time focusing on issues that aren’t as important to them as he might think and conversely wanted to make sure that we’re not overlooking issues that they’d like us to consider.”

The NFL will announce its full 2013 regular-season schedule in April. The league is trying to remedy a scheduling conflict with the Baltimore Orioles that would prevent the Baltimore Ravens from playing in the NFL’s season-opener at home in early September in a midweek prime-time game, which is customary for the defending Super Bowl champion.