I've recently become a big fan of the NFL and noticed some teams had a Bye week.

What is this week for, how does it work, and what effect does it have on team strategies?

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If you look at the NFL schedule of any of the recent years, you'll notice there are 17 weeks of regular season, while teams only play 16 games. This is because each team gets 1 week off during the regular season; this is called the Bye Week.

The league only gives a few teams (2 to 6) teams have a Bye Week at any given week to ensure there are plenty of matches for the fanbase to follow and there is league wide continuity. Bye weeks can only happen from week 4 to week 13.

Since teams don't play a match during the Bye Week they use it mostly as rest week and address play issues, getting everyone healthy. Since Bye weeks can range from early in the season to late into the season, the later Bye weeks are more desirable. As it lets teams to rest after more weeks of play which have resulted in more fatigue and injuries to the players. Also allows coaches to fix their team plays with more tape and chemistry between players.


The bye week is a 'rest' week where a team doesn't have a game scheduled. In the modern day, that began in 1990 to allow an additional week for TV advertising - not to give people a rest, as is often thought - and in fact for one year there were two bye weeks (1993), but they gave up on that quickly.

Since 2004, the bye week is now only in certain weeks (weeks 4-12, or sometimes through 13, depending on when Thanksgiving falls). It's never the first few weeks or last few weeks, in any event.

As far as strategy, it's not something you can strategize for - it's fixed in the schedule, so it's just ... there. NFL players are already giving 100% each week, so you can't ask them to work harder the week before or after the bye. The bye does give players some extra practice time, though they also get time off during the bye; so sometimes the bye allows coaches to more significantly adjust their strategies due to the extra practice time. Most usefully, injured players who are borderline the week before the bye often will skip that week, so they get two weeks (the week before, plus the bye) to heal up fully.

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