The Packers will have to wait until Week 14 for a one-week holiday during the 2022 regular season.
Both coach Matt LaFleur and general manager Brian Gutkunst confirmed that the Packers had submitted a request from the NFL for a farewell week later. Instead of having to play 12 games in a row to finish the season, the Packers will play 13 games in a row to start the season, but they will be given a valuable week in December to rest and get healthy for the extended run and into the playoffs.
The NFL is giving some leeway to teams playing in London because of the Journey Challenge. Most teams took a week to say goodbye to the spot to help the tired, exhausted bodies recover.
There were 60 games in London during the NFL International Series. Only four times before 2022 the team has asked not to spend the farewell week immediately after the flight, so the beams are bucking the trend.
The Minnesota Vikings do the same; Kevin O’Connell’s side plays in London in Week 4 but has delayed the farewell week until Week 7.
Week 14 is the last possible farewell week and the last farewell week for players in team history. Last season, the Hazams were bidding farewell to Week 13.
The downside is that the New York Jets play just seven days after facing the Giants in London, creating a potential disadvantage in terms of rest and recovery. The Packers believe that the London trip that falls between the home games (week 4 vs the Patriots, week 6 vs the planes) can help ease the burden of your transatlantic adventure.
There’s also a potential payback: Despite the grueling stretch to start the season, the Packers will have a farewell week through the second weekend of December, then play three of their last four games at home, including Monday night’s showdown against the Los Angeles Rams coming out of the farewell. And the end of the season against the Detroit Lions. May this team be extraordinarily relaxed and healthy come the final month.
LaFleur trained in London as an assistant twice before, so he understands what goes into preparation and recovery. No doubt his decision was influenced by conversations with players, including those on the leadership council.
The Packers didn’t have great options: The team either had to spend the farewell week early and take on a challenge late in the season, or fight through logistical challenges early to cash in on a later farewell. Picked up the packet a week later, farewell. Time will tell if Lafleur and Gutkunst made the right decision.