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How mathematicians are trying to make NFL schedules fairer

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/26523224/how-mathematicians-trying-make-nfl-schedules-fairer
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Apr 14, 2019 1:16 PM 1+ week ago

How mathematicians are trying to make NFL schedules fairer

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The Bills saw more games against teams coming off either a bye or a Thursday night game than most of the league. Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Four years ago, a group of University at Buffalo researchers submitted a paper to the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, outlining a mathematical approach by which the NFL could potentially produce a materially fair and largely disparity-free schedule.

NFL executives weren't so sure at first. Creating the annual schedule is a difficult task, and a league spokesman offered a gentle, public rebuke, noting that the researchers focused "only on fairness" while failing to consider a series of unavoidable constraints, including accommodating television partners and working around stadium limitations. But as the NFL prepares to release its 2019 schedule this week, the league and the Buffalo researchers ...

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