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Half Smokes Hero: The NFL Schedule Maker

Each weekend Half Smokes Heroes will pay some respect to a group or individual flying under the radar who has gone above and beyond the call of duty during the week.

Compared to other leagues, creating a schedule for each NFL season is pretty easy. Unlike the basketball or hockey, most NFL venues go fairly unoccupied throughout the year, so there aren't too many scheduling conflicts to work around. Only playing once a week makes things easier as well. A team can go from New York to San Francisco to Miami in three straight games without jet-lagging the players or stretching team's budgets because teams have all week to recuperate from battle, unlike athletes in other sports.

 

With logistics not being an issue, NFL schedule makers make their money by creating intriguing match-ups throughout the season, with an eye on juicy games in Week 1, to fire up the NFL hype machine as quickly as possible.

This year, the schedule makers decided to put the Redskins in the spotlight on Sunday night against the Cowboys. In some respects, putting Cowboys-Redskins as tonight's spotlight game is a safe bet. This rivalry always draws good ratings, casual fans will be interested in seeing if the Cowboys can live up to the hype and fantasy owners will be curious to see how Dez Bryant performs in his rookie debut. But schedule makers could have just as easily put the Eagles against Dallas and achieved many of the same objectives. Thankfully for Redskins fans, they didn't.

Because the Redskins have been slated to play their arch-rivals to open the season, fans will get to see how this revamped squad measures up against a possible championship contender right off the bat, and regardless of how they end up performing, there will plenty to talk about Monday morning because of the decision to put Redskins on in prime-time against their rival. 

The schedule certainly isn't the Redskins friend this season, but for giving Washington fans an opportunity to figure out just how good this new team is, they are this week's Half Smokes Heroes.