A “bye” is not just used in seeded tournaments. In round-robin tournaments with odd numbers of competitors, one team receives a bye each round because there’s not an opponent available for everyone. A bye does not mean that you’re seeded or that you “advance” to the next bracket position, but that there’s no one to play this round.
Similar to the round-robin context, in sports leagues where almost all teams play on the same day in regular-seasons, a team that does not play on a given day is said to be on bye. In sports that are played weekly, like football, a team that does not play at all during a given week is said to be on its “bye week”, again, using the word as it’s used in round-robin tournaments (no game scheduled rather than “free pass” to the next round).
Understand your description of why there is a “bye” week. But he has a valid question. Why the heck that occurrence in football is called a “bye” week? A “bye” usually means you have advanced to the next round without playing. In football, there was no such advance during the “bye” week. “Rest” week would be a more appropriate description of what actually took place.
This is not uncommon in the English language. A word that has a reason to be used in context “A” will start to be used in a similar, but different, context “B”, even though it doesn’t really fit context “B.”
I personally use “open week” or “off week” but until this thread had never really objected to “bye week.” I am not a language Nazi normally, if the words used expresses the thought of the person using the words to the intended receiver of the words, great, mission accomplished. (Does the person reading about the Hogs having a “bye week” understand that what is going on is they have an open date, no game this week, if yes, then mission accomplished!) One of the exceptions to that rule for me is when people say “I could care less.” That drives me nuts. Even though it meets my before mentioned “rule” (the person hearing those words does in fact understand what the speaker was intending to impart), I still hate it!
Well, the original question was “Why do people call it a bye week?”, and I answered correctly. Again, in round-robin tournaments with odd numbers of competitors, one team/individual has to sit out each round, and that’s called a bye, and has nothing to do with being seeded or advancing to the next round. The media and NFL call it bye weeks, so many people do. It’s like pigskin, gridiron, Statue of Liberty, naked reverse, sack, Sam linebacker, spearing, etc.: a term adapted to mean something to football.
I was not promoting the use of the term, but simply answering the question.