The NFL’s scheduling guru, Senior VP of broadcasting Howard Katz, told Peter King that not knowing whether Rodgers would play had the league concerned about putting the Packers in marquee games.
“That got us a little nervous,” Katz told King.
Ultimately, the 2021 NFL schedule puts the Packers in big games on all four networks within the first four weeks of the season: The FOX doubleheader in Week One, Monday Night Football in Week Two, Sunday Night Football in Week Three and the CBS doubleheader in Week Four.
“The Green Bay Packers are still the Green Bay Packers, with or without Aaron Rodgers,” Katz said. “They’re a great team and a great brand. We started to think about some of the permutations of the schedule. Ultimately, when he didn’t get traded, we couldn’t solve for something we didn’t know. It was pretty deliberate the way we maxed out the Packers early in the season. You’re right that each of the networks has their bite at the Packers in the first month. That was deliberate.”
All those big Packers games early in the season will certainly be big if Rodgers is on the team, but there will be plenty of interest in seeing what the Packers look like without Rodgers at the start of the season as well, if Rodgers isn’t there. Without Rodgers, the Packers would be more likely to be out of contention late in the season, but early in the season, as Katz says, the Packers are still the Packers.