NFL considering more Thursday games

NFL considering more Thursday games
October 16, 2013, 10:00 am
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Are you ready for more Thursday night football?

The NFL apparently is, but many players, including former Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin, aren't remotely happy about it.

To be clear, nothing is set, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the NFL is considering expanding its Thursday night schedule. No doubt, the motivation is money. According to the report, the NFL is unhappy that its Thursday night games airing on NFL Network have not attracted more viewers (translated: money), in part because NFL Network isn't more widely available. The thought is the NFL would offer additional Thursday night games, creating Thursday night doubleheaders, with broadcast rights for the additional games open to the highest bidder.

“People want to watch it and are excited about Thursday Night Football," Goodell said, according to the WSJ. "It is our job to build Thursday Night Football and make it, ‘This is where you want to be on Thursday.’”

As the Journal points out, Thursday has long been prime television real estate. It draws major advertisers such as auto makers and movie studios looking to promote their products in advance of the weekend. (And despite Goodell's claims about not wanting to schedule a game on a Jewish holiday, moving the Ravens season opener to Denver was all about keeping the game on a Thursday night for television, i.e. money, reasons.)

The players union would have to sign off on any additional Thursday night games, and if many players share Boldin's opinion, that won't happen easily.

"There are some things that just don't make sense to me," Boldin told the San Jose Mercury News. "I mean if you're so concerned about player safety then why do you have every team in the league playing on Thursday night when they just competed on a Sunday, knowing how difficult it is for guys to get back to being healthy after playing on Sunday? Guys really don't feel like they're back till probably Thursday or Friday to prepare for that next week.

 "The league can say they're doing things to protect guys," he added, "but I'm not one of the guys buying it."

As it stands now, with each of the Thursday night games, plus three Thanksgiving games, each team will play on a Thursday night (i.e. a short week) once. Unless every team is assigned a second Thursday game, some will claim that they are at a disadvantage with more short-week games.

Arizona coach Bruce Arians, who is preparing his team for a Thursday night game against Seattle this week, told Sirius XM Radio: "I don’t think it’s really fair to the players, especially the veteran players. This is really, really hard on them. There are so many [times] over the course of the last 10 years I’ve seen guys that could not play on Thursday but could play on Sunday. And that’s really hard on a football team.”