The Indianapolis Colts won’t get a break after they travel to London this season, but it was apparently their choice.
At first glance, it looked like the schedule makers had screwed over the Colts this season. They didn’t have the traditional Bye Week after their October 2 trip to London. But it was up to the team whether or not they wanted a break after the big road trip.
According to Peter King at the MMQB, the league asked teams if they wanted their Bye Week following a trip to London. Here’s that section from King’s piece on how the NFL constructed the 2016 schedule:
"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. London time, 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."
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Early Bye Weeks are generally hated by players and coaches. It means the back half of the season becomes that much more difficult without a break. Now the Colts will essentially have two Bye Weeks in late November.
The Colts will be off Week 10, host the Titans in Week 11, and then host the Steelers on Thanksgiving in Week 12. That Thursday night game will give the Colts a mini-bye week before they head to New York to face the Jets. That means nine days off between the Steelers and Jets. Not bad for a time of year when rest is at a premium.
It will be an interesting season for the Colts as they have to play in five preseason games and travel to London during the regular season. Luckily they will get a home Thursday night game for the first time in four years, unfortunately it is against a team that has beaten them by approximately 247 points over the past two seasons.