Browns’ 2022 schedule contains no evidence for any final comment by Deshaun Watson. This is apparently because the people responsible for setting the schedule have no idea what will happen with Deshaun Watson’s eventual suspension.
with the rest of us.
NFL Vice President of Broadcast Scheduling Mike North appeared with Adam Shane on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio on Friday. Shane asked if Watson’s condition affected Brown’s scheduling decisions.
“The honest answer to your question is no, ” North said about whether the scheduling process takes into account Watson’s availability. “None of us know. None of us know if it will stay all year or not. None of us know what will ever happen, and it may not happen this year. I don’t know enough about the legal system, but we may be a year or two away from finally settling all of this. The answer to your question is no. And as you look at Cleveland’s schedule, you see that they have a national television game in week three, a national television game in week eight, and a chance to come back to national television on the NFL network in the Saturday pool in week 15. So there’s a game in the first third, a game in the middle, Game in the last third. No idea what will happen. I don’t know anything more than you do at this point. So the honest answer to your question is that we haven’t thought about it.”
Implicit in his interpretation is the fact that, if they knew how many, if any, games Watson would miss, that would have been a factor. The uncertainty has led to the league peppering two national games and a potential third NFLN game all over the roster.
North separately admitted that the league was considered a determining factor in crafting the schedule – the match between Brown and Texas in Houston. This game takes place in week 13.
“We knew that Houston and Cleveland were clearly going to play this year, and Cleveland in Houston would mean something,” North said. “I’ll be honest with you, we’ve seen a timeline somewhere along the hundreds of thousands that we looked at this year where that game was in the first week. And I’m not sure it would be the right place for that, right? Maybe it’s not true of, you know, the game Which we want all eyes on, attention to, you know, draw attention away from some of these other big columns… in the first week. So other than maybe just thinking about where that is because where the actual Cleveland game in Houston fell, there wasn’t a lot of Attention because, frankly, none of us know what’s going to happen.”
The fact that attention was drawn to the Browns-Texans shows that attention would have been paid to Watson’s suspension, if the league had known if it was to be suspended, and if so, how many games. But the broadcast department did not know, because the commissioner continues to keep his cards near the jacket.
The only thing we know at this point is that the commissioner will be tempted to suspend Watson before he is put on paid leave. Other than that, everyone keeps waiting.
It is unclear what the league is waiting for. Although she has learned from experience not to make decisions until she has to, a decision has to be made at some point. It’s not fair for Browns, Watson, and Cleveland’s opponents to delay the process for longer than it should justly delay it.