On November 23, 2006 football fans everywhere shed a tear without even knowing it. On that date, the National Football League introduced Thursday Night Football by CBS Sports and the NFL Network.
From a business standpoint, it makes sense. A business wants to make as much money as possible for as long as it can. Which is why the NFL created another prime time slot to attract viewers on a day where they could not watch football before.
The problem with Thursday Night Football is the quality of the product they are putting on the field. Thursday games do not have the typical feel of an NFL game and there are several reasons why.
One big reason is the short week that most teams go through.
Football is all about preparation; learning the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent in a week span so come game day, a team knows what they are up against. A team studies formations, plays, routes, schemes and styles that the other team will use to beat them.
In preparing for a Thursday Night game, the typical team will have three days to prepare. That means teams have to cram a week full of preparation into three days. It is not easy, even for professional athletes. That is why teams, like the Bills, did not have actual practices. They just have walk-throughs to get a minimum concept of what the other teams would be doing.
With the lack of preparation, teams get missed opportunities all over the field that can make the game very boring in general.
With the short week, not only is preparation cut down, but so is the ability for players to rest and recover.
Football is a violent game in itself. NFL players sacrifice their bodies every time they walk on the field just to make a play. Players are still sore when they are playing on Thursday night. Not being able to recover enables the possibility of more injuries.
The common football fan might like Thursday Night Football, but it does not mean the players like it.
“It’s rough on the body,” Sherman said to ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia. “Any time you play a football game and play another one a few days later, it’s going to be tough on the body. But it’s just another one of those things. Another one of those simple contradictions of the league, because they care about us.”
It is very contradicting for a league who already has health concerns to risk their players even more. Former players like Darryl Talley are in pain from playing this sport just on Sundays.
This is an excerpt from the story, “Broke and broken,” by Tim Graham from The Buffalo News:
“He rarely sleeps longer than 90 minutes, frequently climbing onto the floor with his legs propped on an ottoman for back relief… He sometimes must use his knees to steer his pickup truck because of wrist pain from jamming linemen and tight ends.”
Imagine how much pain he would be in if he did not get the necessary rest before the next game.
In a perfect world the NFL would cancel Thursday Night Football in efforts to protects its players. After all they have rules and regulations in the CBA that protects the players.
At least we have the Color Rush (sorry to any color blind readers). The Color Rush might be the coolest thing the NFL could have done to Thursday Night Football.
Having teams wear flashy new colors that they do not traditionally wear is bold and interesting. It is great when the Bills wear all blue uniforms, and now they have all red uniforms.
It is almost similar to how Oregon has a different uniform for every single game. It adds another element to make you want to watch. Well done, NFL.
Even for someone who does not like Thursday Night Football, they have got many interested with the Color Rush. Which in reality, the Color Rush is just a marketing tactic to get more people to watch the game and buy the merchandise.
Of course, money, it is what makes the league go ’round.
As long as the league is making its money, the cancellation of Thursday Night Football, at this point, seems far fetched.
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