2014 NFL schedule release preparation schedule: Gear up for the schedule

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is releasing the 2014 regular season schedule on Wednesday night, with GREAT fanfare. You need to start getting ready ... like, now.

It's a special day for NFL fans everywhere. The 2014 regular season schedule will be released tonight on primetime television. Schedule shows start at 8:00 p.m. ET on the NFL Network and ESPN2 will run counter to Game 2 of the Mavericks and Spurs series, which was probably the league's plan to tweak Mark Cuban (spoiler alert: the Spurs will win anyway). At any rate, such an important event is going to require some preparation on your part to maximize enjoyment of the schedule release.

Pregame

You're going to want to tailgate to this. Most NFL fans and everyone in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area find any event is enhanced by drinking canned domestic beer near an internal combustion engine. We've made you a handy checklist.

  • Pace yourself.
  • Be sure to park your tailgating RV at the tailgate lot about two days before the schedule is released. Since you've already missed that threshold, just sprint to your team's stadium right now. Close this webpage.
  • HYDRATE.
  • Snacks and booze for all of your friends, who'll also be losing their damn minds for hours about The NFL Schedule being released.
  • WAR PAINT/SUIT AND TIE
  • Good NFL Schedule Release snacks include booze Jell-O and week-old Easter candy.
  • First aid kits.
  • GET SERIOUS.
  • A hype video of past NFL Schedule Release Day highlights, for when your NFL Schedule Release Day party starts to lose steam. A shot of that time when you realized your team had three home games in a row in 2011 will fire things back up in a hurry!
  • Games!
  • But not games like cornhole or alcohol poisoning. Games like Raging At Goodell For Giving Division Rival X A Bye Week Before Playing Us and Talking Ourselves Into This Team Somehow Reaching 9-7, Which Would Piss Off Goodell Real Good and Tetris.
  • WE'RE GOING 9-7 AT WORST, BABY #BillsMafia

Make predictions

For fans

It's important to pre-prepare your instant reaction to the release of the schedule. Beat writers and team bloggers, this is your time to shine! Because you already know which teams your team will play (three division opponents twice, one AFC division, one NFC division, plus two other in-conference teams that finished in the same spot in their division last year), you can start sketching out W's and L's before the schedule's release.

The Bills are going 10-6 next year, baby!

Bills_mafia_4_life_medium Photo credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

For media

Media outlets, you have it a little bit tougher. It's your job to tell everyone which games happening 5-8 months from now fans should be most excited about. HINT: the season opener, Niners-Seahawks in primetime, Peyton Manning versus somebody, Cowboys versus the eventual NFC East champion in Week 17, and some other late-season fodder that will be flexed into the Sunday Night Football. Phew! Tough work. Now you can get back to embedding tweets and pretending that's reporting.

Know the rules

Overtime

The league might not allow overtime for the schedule release show, but then again, they just might. You can't be the expert on all things NFL to the people at your party who are depending on you. You need to know for certain.

Tiebreakers

Week 17 is going to be stuffed with division games and all kinds of playoff implications. And that means more questions. For instance, which 8-8 team will win the NFC East? When the Bills get to 11-5, will that be enough for an AFC Wildcard? (#BILLSMAFIA represent).

Flex scheduling

Before you start making plans for date nights or dinner with your family or helping your kids study for a test, remember that your nights may suddenly become unavailable thanks to flex scheduling. It's been around since 2006, but the process can still be a bit confusing, so here's how flex scheduling works:

  • Beginning in Week 11, the NFL has the ability to move a Sunday afternoon game up to the primetime slot.
  • For a game to be "flexed," Roger Goodell must really hit the gym hard on Friday afternoon after work. We're talking dips, decline bench, preacher curls (it's Goodell; obviously there's just a crazy amount of preacher curls) at high intensity. The gym, like the NFL, deserves Goodell's maximum focus and effort, so that's what he's going to give it and screw you if you want to use this squat rack in between sets. THE COMMISSIONER GETS SWOLE ALONE.
  • Once Goodell finishes his workout, he will visit the home team for the game the league wants to flex. He will not shower beforehand, and he will not even change out of his gym clothes.
  • Goodell will then grab a microphone that is not hooked up to anything, point to his biceps, and bellow "THESE are the only guns allowed in my league! Move your game or find out what happens when I unholster Beat Rozelle and Brawl Tagliabue!"
  • The league will then announce the movement of the flexed game to Sunday night.

Playoffs?

The regular season schedule means the playoffs are right around the corner, starting the first weekend after the regular season ends. Of course it's impossible to know where those games will be and which teams they'll feature (except for the 12-4 Bills #BillsMafia), but the subject of the Super Bowl and your totally awesome Super Bowl party will come up.

So when, where and what time is the 2015 Super Bowl?

Super Bowl XLIX (49 for the unlearned and search engines)
Feb. 1, 2015
Probably around 6:30 p.m. or so
Suburban Phoenix
NBC (that's right, Bob Costas)

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