INDIANAPOLIS -- One of the head scratchers noticed during the release of the NFL’s 2016 schedule on Thursday was why the Indianapolis Colts became the first team not to have a bye week after playing a game in London.
The Colts play the Chicago Bears at home the week after traveling across the ocean to play AFC South foe Jacksonville in Week 4.
It turns out the Colts requested not to have a bye the following week, according to Peter King of The MMQB.
Here’s what King wrote about the situation:
This is the first time a team didn’t get a bye after a London game. Actually, Indianapolis chose not to have the bye. The NFL has made a habit of teams that play in London getting the next week off. But this year the league asked the teams playing in England (Indianapolis-Jacksonville in Week 4, Giants-Rams in Week 7, Washington-Cincinnati in Week 8) if they wanted the bye the following week, seeing that the games were being played at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, meaning that teams could get back to their city’s airports, for the most part, by 2 a.m. Monday local time. The Colts said they’d like to defer their bye from Week 5 (Oct. 9) to Week 10 (Nov. 13). So Indianapolis will play in London on Oct. 2, then at home with the Bears on Oct. 9. “The Jets got home earlier last year from London than they did from a West Coast game,” said Katz. “The teams playing one of the earlier games in London had the option to move their bye back, and the Colts took it.” Seems sensible; most players would rather have a bye in midseason than in early October.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano routinely prefers to have their bye week later in the season. They’ll have theirs in Week 10 after playing at Green Bay. That may end up being the right approach to take for the Colts, especially since they play in the Hall of Fame against the Packers -- giving them five preseason games instead of four.