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An inside look at how the NFL schedule is created: Logistics, networks, time zones and a "gut" feeling

How the NFL schedule is made
A look at how the NFL schedule is created 04:55

Inside a cramped room on Manhattan's East Side, Mike North, Charlotte Carey and Onnie Bose have been huddling for months to determine the 2022 NFL schedule. 

North has been helping determine the schedule for the past quarter-century — before the advances of technology when the schedule was all done by hand, one game at a time. 

"The miracle isn't so much that we get through hundreds of thousands of contender schedules today, it's that we ever got one done by hand," he told "CBS Mornings" co-host Nate Burleson. 

The logistics behind the schedule go beyond weather and distances. Every game can happen in any one of the 18 weeks in the NFL season. It can be watched on any one of seven networks and at 10 different times. Games are also played in several different countries, including England, Mexico and Germany.

Mexico NFL Schedule
U.S. and Mexican national flags are displayed at the Azteca stadium prior to the start of an NFL football game, in Mexico City.  Dario Lopez-Mills / AP

"You can put it on Sunday night. You could put it on Monday night. You could put it on Sunday afternoon. You could put it in Germany. You could put it on Thanksgiving. You could put it on Christmas," North said. 

The NFL has 32 teams. Each team plays 17 regular-season games, for a total of 272 contests.   

The schedule is released in May each year and goes through early January depending on a team's standing. Once Super Bowl Sunday is over, the group gets right back to planning the following year's schedule. 

"It's long days, and long nights, and a really long few months. Day after Super Bowl, we pretty much, you know, kinda close and lock the door in here and that's when we get started," Carey said. "Then go through draft and then, you know, two weeks later or so, we put our schedule out. We give the commissioner our best schedule." 

As for those dream matchups, Bose said those are backed not only by data but by a "gut feeling." 

"Those are the games we know kinda that's the in your gut, the intuitive, 'These are the big games.' It's backed up by the data," she said. "Those are the games that are gonna get the most viewers and the most eyeballs. And you wanna put them into the biggest windows and spread them across all of our partners." 

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