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Colts actually chose to not have bye week after London game in 2016

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The Colts will be the first team to not have a bye week after a London game, and the MMQB's Peter King reported this morning that the Colts actually chose that.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since the NFL started the London series, a team playing in one of those games will not have the bye week following that game.  The Indianapolis Colts play the Jacksonville Jaguars in week four in London, meaning that week five would likely be the bye week.  Instead, the Colts' bye doesn't come until week ten.  The Jaguars have a bye after their London game, so what gives?

It turns out that it was actually the Colts who chose to not have a bye week after playing in London.  The MMQB's Peter King wrote an article this morning about the NFL scheduling process which is always an interesting read, and he said that the NFL asked the teams playing in London if they wanted their bye after their London game or later in the season.  The Colts choose to have a bye week later in the season rather than early in week five.

It actually makes a lot of sense.  With the NFL putting London games at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time, teams can get home at a reasonable hour after playing overseas, so the big adjustment is simply a lot of travel and perhaps some jet lag after the time change, but it's not a ton different than playing on the West Coast.  The Colts realized that and also realized that, for players, a later bye almost always is more popular and at a better time, so they opted to choose a later bye when presented with the option.

"The Jets got home earlier last year from London than they did from a West Coast game," Howard Katz, who was very involved in the scheduling process, told King.  "The teams playing one of the earlier games in London had the option to move their bye back, and the Colts took it."

One of the biggest questions about the Colts' schedule once it was released was about why the Colts didn't get a bye week after the London game, but now we know: they actually chose it.  And while it will be a tough turnaround from playing in London to playing in Indianapolis in the span of a week, it makes a lot of sense to push the bye week to later in the season when players will likely appreciate and benefit from it more.