Recent history has shown that the NFL certainly doesn't need help attracting viewers to games, but the league nevertheless understandably wants to feature its biggest stars in marquee matchups and favorable timeslots.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is arguably the NFL's biggest single draw, leading the league in player merchandise sales for the previous year. It's already known that Brady and the Buccaneers will face the Seattle Seahawks in Munich, Germany, on Nov. 13, and the public will learn information about the rest of Tampa Bay's games when the full NFL schedule is released on Thursday evening.
According to JoeBucsFan.com (h/t Pro Football Talk), NFL broadcasting chief Howard Katz told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times about how Brady's return from a short-lived retirement impacted the league's plans for the upcoming season.
“When Tom Brady retired, we were concerned about the strength of the NFC package because there were so many terrific Tampa Bay games we were looking at,” Katz explained. “Then a month later he un-retires and we sort of started all over again.”
As PFT's Mike Florio hinted, the NFL likely had removed the Buccaneers from at least a couple of prime-time slots after Brady retired on Feb. 1. It's unclear if this will be Brady's last season, but logic suggests the league will want to feature the 44-year-old in a handful of night games this fall just in case he does decide to ride off into the sunset of retirement next winter.