The NFL’s schedule release has become a tentpole event not only on the NFL calendar, but in all of sports. A slew of articles are written about the best matchups, who has the toughest and easiest schedules, and predicting the winners and losers of each game.
It’s also a big day for fans, who instantly believe their team is going 12-5, and it’s an opportunity to plan potential trips to their favorite team’s stadiums or perhaps travel to an opposing team’s stadium and city.
However, the day has taken on a life of its own on social media, as all 32 teams put together a grand piece of content to roll out their respective schedules. Having worked for an NFL team — full disclosure, I worked for the Eagles from 2017-22 — I know how much is put into the schedule release video. There are months of planning and ideating and lots of money spent, all with the hopes of making your slate of 17 games look more entertaining than the other 31 teams.
Naturally, that means we have to rank the league’s output from Thursday night from one all the way to 32 in a very un-scientific way.
1. Los Angeles Chargers
If you follow NFL social media, you know the Chargers’ reputation precedes them. For those unfamiliar, they have created some tremendous content over the years. They don’t take themselves too seriously and make great use of content for memes. I was always jealous of their use of copyrighted content, as that was big no-no during my time with the Eagles. The team’s lawyers were not too keen on doing such a thing.
However, for their schedule release, the Chargers upped the ante by creating their very own anime. This was extremely well done for multiple reasons: No one has done anime for their schedule release, it felt like an authentic anime that I’d be interested to watch, and there were plenty of Easter eggs that provided for some laugh-out-loud moments.
It satisfied many audiences and went viral as a result, earning 3.4 million views overnight on Twitter alone. Well done (again), Chargers.
2. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle may not have Russell Wilson under center anymore, but at least it still has its talented content team. That makes it all better. Right, Seahawks fans?
The content team’s video may not throw any touchdowns this year, but it’s great for a bevy of laughs with a very original concept. Having a player, in this case Will Dissly, somehow obtain a fake version of the team’s schedule and show it to his teammates to get their reaction via a hidden camera was a brilliant idea.
The fake schedule was all sorts of insane with the Seahawks playing four road games in a row, not having a bye week after their game in Germany, and playing on Thanksgiving and Christmas. What made the video was the reaction of Quandre Diggs, who was distraught over the fact that he had to play on the two winter holidays. He even called up his spouse to deliver the bad news. Pete Carroll puts it even further over the top by yelling at the league for the less-than-ideal schedule while being in on the joke all along.
3. Detroit Lions
The Lions didn’t win many games last year, but they’ve already secured their first W by getting Dale Brown, sensei of Detroit Urban Survival Training, to provide a free lesson. This time, he’s showing fans how to fend off all of the Lions’ opponents. The best joke was easily about the Jaguars and Urban Meyer — not the first we’ve seen. This was a great job of taking advantage of a trending topic and turning into something hilarious.
4. Tennessee Titans
It’s not easy to stand out from the pack for schedule release, but the Titans found a way with a short film that highlights the Black businesses that make up Jefferson Street in Nashville. This was tremendous filmmaking with a great subject matter. It also served as a way for the team to highlight how they will spotlight each of those businesses during home games this upcoming season.
5. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers took us back to the late 1990s with their schedule release video for a look at a day in the life of a Panthers fan during that time period.
Montell Jordan’s classic “This Is How We Do It” plays in the background as a teenager takes us through the days of dial-up internet, Tamagotchis, blowing into the cartridge of a video game, and a tube television with an episode of “Martin” on it. They even got in a Y2K reference. All of this while the team’s 2022 schedule is sprinkled throughout the video.
As a 90s kid myself (born in 1989), I appreciated the nostalgia. And again, this was well produced.
6. Denver Broncos
As soon as the Broncos acquired Wilson, it was a safe bet that he would be involved in the team’s schedule release video. The Broncos did just that by having him and the team’s last major QB acquisition, Peyton Manning, star in a sequel of sorts to the team’s schedule release video from last year that saw Manning act as the team’s summer intern.
This time, Manning’s internship is winding down and he’s now training the next in line, Wilson. There are a lot of gags and jokes in this one that includes Adam Schefter in a wig, John Elway on a scooter, and some colorful language. Virtually all of the jokes land and Wilson actually delivers a pretty hilarious performance.
7. New Orleans Saints
The Saints also enlisted the help of players with Cam Jordan and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson teaming up against New Orleans music legends Juvenile and Choppa for a game night. The games included charades, Pictionary, and Jeopardy.
This may not sound that funny in theory, but trust me, there were multiple moments I stopped the video so that I could laugh very loudly, like Gardner-Johnson being a pro at charades. He may have a future in that someday, whereas Cam Jordan definitely does not have one in art. But the best moment for me was seeing Juvenile crawl around and roar like a Panther during charades. It was kind of surreal. Also, the Saints also did the Falcons real dirty at the end.
8. Baltimore Ravens
I have to be honest, there are probably videos below that are more entertaining than this one. However, getting Roger Goodell to be a part of your schedule release is a big deal, and he had probably the funniest moment in the entire video.
9. Dallas Cowboys
If I had to guess one team that would troll its own fans for content before Thursday night, it would have been the Cowboys. They did just that by getting ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, arguably the most notable Cowboys hater in the world, to star in their schedule release video. His opening monologue was hilarious and I loved the joke of Jerry Jones editing his spiel together to make it seem like he loves the Cowboys. As much as it might pain Eagles fans to hear this, but the Cowboys did a really good job with this one.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
The schedule release is among the most sensitive pieces of information throughout the year in every NFL building. Everyone is on high alert making sure nothing gets leaked, only for teams’ entire schedules to get leaked hours in advance.
The Steelers poked fun at this by taking a page out of Reebok’s playbook by having Cam Heyward play “Schedule Protector,” an updated version of Terry Tate the “Office Linebacker” in the memorable commercials from the early 2000s. Although the idea isn’t original, I think what the Steelers put on screen was pretty funny.
Heyward was a natural, the set pieces all work (my particular favorite being Hayward chasing Minkah Fitzpatrick down a hallway in slow-motion), and they managed to work in Franco Harris for a 2022 rendition of the “Immaculate Reception.” For what it was, I was highly entertained.
11. Buffalo Bills
The Bills used their schedule release video to essentially make fun of videos of the past that involved players doing random activities. The Bills literally had players enter a room, doing random things, and end it with Josh Allen saying none of it meant anything and here’s the schedule. I thought it was pretty funny. It reminded me of something that would be on Adult Swim at 1 a.m. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I didn’t mind taking a few sips. Watch here.
12. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons managed to take a video with a domino setup and get multiple uses out of it. The domino setup was good on its own, but there was also well-placed jokes about other teams such as a photo of Kevin James playing former Saints coach Sean Payton and calling the Chargers “The other L.A. team.” They also snuck in a sneak peak at a potential red throwback helmet and a QR code that sent people to a link to purchase tickets. Watch here.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa’s video wasn’t overly creative, but it was still effective. Basically, the video was Tristan Wirfs standing in front of a green screen that featured different videos and photos that represented each of the team’s opponents. All Wirfs would do was react in some sort of comedic way. Because Wirfs is apparently naturally funny, it worked. Watch here.
14. Chicago Bears
I didn’t love the Bears’ video at first, but then they leaned into the ridiculousness and made it worth my while. Justin Fields is the centerpiece, as he and his teammates perform increasingly difficult football tricks Dude Perfect-style with every trick ending up with the ball landing in a bin. No matter the trick, every one ends with the exact same shot of the ball landing in the bin, which I thought that was a nice touch. Watch here.
15. New York Giants
Eli Manning has followed in his brother’s footsteps in many ways — and now we can add being involved in a team’s schedule release video to the list. Watch here.
16. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay turned its schedule release into a parody of the popular mobile and arcade golf game Golden Tee. The video game parody was all the rage among teams for schedule release a couple of years ago. However, the Packers kept it alive with a well-executed video that incorporated their opponents into the courses, including putting a crack in the Liberty Bell for the Eagles. Watch here.
17. Indianapolis Colts
Having Matt Ryan (a.k.a. Matty Ice) sculpting ice is pretty funny, and I loved having Frank Reich come in and ask for 16 more sculptures. It was short and mostly to the point, which can be a good thing. Watch here.
18. Los Angeles Rams
It is fitting that an L.A. team would have a big production budget for their schedule release, especially after winning a Super Bowl. But despite that big budget, their video felt just OK to me. I didn’t laugh out loud, and I didn’t love the concept. I did, however, appreciate the D’Marco Farr cameo. Watch here.
19. Minnesota Vikings
Vikings legend John Randle was the star of this production, as he was yelling and doing silly things while introducing their opponents. There were some funny moments, but it was nothing groundbreaking. Watch here.
20. Philadelphia Eagles
Maybe it’s just me, but I always like parodies of old game shows. They always have a soft spot for me. In this game show, the Eagles had Jason Kelce, Miles Sanders, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, Avonte Maddox, and Landon Dickerson participate — but the star of this production is easily host Dave Spadaro. He makes the entire thing with his wig, mustache, skinny microphone, and over-the-top delivery. He very much understood the assignment.
However, I was a little confused as to what game the players were actually playing. I had to watch it multiple times before I fully understood it.
21. New York Jets
As a standalone piece of content, I thought the Jets’ schedule release video was pretty funny. Having mic’d up moments play out with funny cartoons was creative. However, as a schedule release video, I’m not sure that this landed like it should have. Watch here.
22. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona had a member of its social media team sit down with children, show them logos, and have the kids describe what they looked like. Getting kids involved almost always works with content, especially the schedule release. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work. They were some cute moments in there, but it didn’t knock my socks off by any stretch. Watch here.
23. Houston Texans
Like the Saints, the Texans got a couple of local music legends to lend a helping hand with their schedule release video. Bun B and Paul Wall were the special guest stars of a video where they, along with Texans players, announce the opponent and try their best to draw the team’s logo on the screen. The tech for this was really cool, but it wasn’t especially exciting to watch. Watch here.
24. Cleveland Browns
The Browns poked fun at themselves for the one time their tifo banners were unfurled out of order, thus spelling “DAWG POUND” “GPODAWUND” by spelling all of their opponents’ names wrong on imaginary tifos, like “THPANERS” instead of Panthers or “ELSTEERS” instead of Steelers. It was a silly idea that didn’t require a bunch of work, but the joke got old after maybe Week 3. Considering the Browns have produced tremendous content in the past, I was surprised at the lack of entertainment with this one. Watch here.
25. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals’ video was fun for what it was. I can tell a lot of thought went into each game on the schedule. However, the bar has been raised quite significantly in the last couple of years for these videos. This would have been great back in 2016 or 2017, but not 2022. Watch here.
26. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have produced great content in the past as well, but this does not belong in that pantheon. The idea was pretty much handing coach Andy Reid the schedule and having him read through it like he’s seeing it for the first time. That very well could have been his first time seeing it, but wasn’t very exciting to watch Reid throw in a random quip here and there about the opposing team or its city. Reid is funny, but he’s not funny enough to carry this entire piece of content. This ain’t it, Chiefs. Watch here.
27. Miami Dolphins
I liked the Dolphins’ concept of creating a piece of art with their schedule. The Eagles did something like that in 2021 by having a graffiti artist spray paint an entire wall with the team’s schedule. This, however, isn’t quite as grand. The Dolphins just put their schedule on the back of a shirt as if they’re a touring band. And that’s pretty much all the video was: a look at how a shirt is made. Not exciting. Watch here.
28. Washington Commanders
I don’t think Washington took command of the schedule release... Get it?
Anyway, the Commanders had players enter a rage room and destroy things that corresponded to the teams they’re playing. There weren’t a ton of laughs and the concept gets a little repetitive. However, there were some fantastic shots from the video people in this, so kudos to them. Watch here.
29. New England Patriots
If you’re a diehard Patriots fan, you probably loved their schedule release video. If not, you’re probably scratching your head. Basically, the Patriots had former associate head coach Ernie Adams stand in front of a whiteboard and introduce the schedule. Adams, to his credit, nailed the assignment and came off like an NFL version of Bob Ross. But if you’re not a fan, you have no clue what is happening. As the Chargers proved, this content can reach well beyond your fan base. Watch here.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars
Like the Jets, I don’t think the Jags’ schedule release video really landed for me because it didn’t feel like a schedule release video. If it were a hype video at the beginning of the regular season, I’d probably love it. But just having an inspirational voiceover asking fans “You in?” was not enough to keep me entertained. Sorry, Duval. Watch here.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Back in 2019, multiple teams used the “Game of Thrones” intro for their schedule release, which temporarily put a pause on TV-themed videos. The 49ers went back to that well this year, as they opted to do a parody of the popular television show “Yellowstone.” The video itself was well done, but it left a lot of people that were unfamiliar with the show confused, and it wasn’t very upbeat at all. It did nothing to grab your attention. “Yellowstone” fans probably loved it. I haven’t watch the show yet, so I did not love it. Watch here.
32. Oakland Raiders
Sponsorship is always something that can bring down a promising post as followers can sometimes shy away from advertising. The Raiders tried to buck that trend by basically making their schedule release a commercial for the city of Las Vegas and the stadium sponsor, Allegiant Air. Watch here.